Industrial manslaughter legislation passes Queensland Parliament

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Photo: Activedia-1, Pixabay

State parliament passed new industrial manslaughter law this month following the Dreamworld incident in 2016.

Industrial Relations Minister Grace Grace said the new laws would leave negligent employers culpable in workplace deaths with nowhere to hide.

“Negligent employers culpable in workplace fatalities in Queensland will face severe penalties for the new offence of industrial manslaughter,” said Ms. Grace.

“Individuals guilty of industrial manslaughter will face 20 years imprisonment, with corporate offenders liable for fines of up to $10 million.

“These penalties send out a strong message to all employers that negligence causing death won’t be tolerated under any circumstances.

“Because of increasingly elaborate corporate structures, up until now, it’s been difficult to prosecute some employers for manslaughter.

“But these new laws will hold all employers – regardless of their size or structure – accountable for negligence contributing to a worker’s death.

“Last year’s tragic workplace deaths at Eagle Farm and Dreamworld, which cost six people their lives, brought home the need for these tough new laws.

“The legislation passed today is all about ensuring all Queensland workers can return home safely to their loved ones after a day’s work.”

The creation of the new offence was one of the 58 recommendations in Tim Lyons’s Best Practice Review of Workplace Health and Safety Queensland.

“The LNP stands condemned for voting against these laws, and in doing so, failing to put the safety of Queensland workers first,” said Ms. Grace.

“Saving lives in the workplace should be beyond politics but sadly the LNP put its own interest above those of Queensland workers,” said Ms. Grace.

Michael Garrels, who lost his son Jason to a workplace accident in Clermont in 2012 said the legislation will hold negligent employers to account.

“It’s great to see the government implementing a crucial preventative measure like this to protect Queenslanders in the workplace,” he said.

“I believe these laws will definitely save lives and that if they’d been in place at the time they would have made a difference in my son Jason’s case.

“The only people with anything to be afraid of are those that are doing the wrong thing.

“Of the 40 affected families who have been actively involved in the committee, not one of them thinks the creation of this new offence is a bad idea.”

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