Workplace Risk

Keeping your people safe

Industrial Manslaughter legislation holds businesses liable for the death of a person (worker or other) resulting from practices of neglect in the workplace. To ensure the safety of their people, businesses must conduct adequate training and risk management processes to mitigate potential hazards and risks at all times.  


What do the July 1 changes mean for your business?

The amendments to Victoria’s Workplace Safety Legislation involves the addition of two new workplace manslaughter offences under the Occupational Health and Safety Act

  1. Where a person commits workplace manslaughter when engaged in conduct that is negligent in breach of applicable duties owed to another person, and where the negligent conduct has caused the death of a person.  
  2. Where a person who is an officer of an entity will commit workplace manslaughter when they engage in conduct that is negligible, in breach of an applicable duty owed by the entity to another person and where the conduct causes the death of a person.  

These changes impact anyone who has a duty under the OHS Act and is aimed at people who are obliged to maintain a safe workplace for employees. 


Under the Act, an employer (duty holder), is required to:

  • provide a workplace free of health and safety risks as far as reasonably practicable
  • constantly monitor health and safety implications and regularly review and update safety procedures to best mitigate risks. 


Who is a responsible party?

A person, body corporate and officers who owes applicable duties to ensure the health and safety of another person in the workplace can be charged with industrial manslaughter. If convicted of workplace manslaughter, a maximum of 20 years imprisonment for individuals and/or a maximum fine of $16.5 million for body corporates may be applied.  


Persons who can be charged under the Act include:

  • Directors and secretaries of companies
  • Partners of a partnership or joint venture
  • The trustee of a trust
  • Persons who participate in the making of decisions that affect a substantial part of the organisations business 
  • Persons who have the capacity to significantly affect the organisation’s financial standing.

Penalties will not apply to employees or volunteers.


How can you protect your business?

For Senior Management Teams to discharge their duties or responsibility, they must be able to answer the following:

  • Do you completely understand WHS requirements and current risk or issues?
  • Given the work you perform, what incidents are likely to occur?
  • Do you have the right safety systems and resources to prevent hazards and incidents from occurring?
  • Do you receive sufficient information on which work practices result in workplace injury and how are practices being corrected?
  • Are you comfortable you are meeting your WHS obligations?
  • Are you confident individuals across your organisation are all effectively management WHS?


We’re With You All The Way

As always, we’re committed to providing you with timely updates and support. Our Honan Workplace Risk experts are ready to support businesses in reviewing their risk management compliance, and readying themselves for Victorian Industrial Manslaughter Law updates. Please reach out to learn how Honan can help support and protect your business.


Sharon Rutherford – Head of Workplace Risk


Jules Paolino – Workplace Risk Consultant


Grace Rod – Client Executive Workplace Risk


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