fbpx

$3 Million Fine – Directors receive suspended jail sentences for first industrial manslaughter conviction.

15/10/2020

Australia’s first conviction and sentence for industrial manslaughter was handed down recently in the Brisbane District Court which issued a $3 million company fine and suspended jail sentences to two company directors over an incident in which a worker was crushed and killed by a forklift.

The incident occurred in May 2019 at a wrecking yard in Rocklea, Brisbane when the worker received fatal injuries when a reversing forklift crushed him between the forklift and a stationary truck.

Workplace Health and Safety Queensland (WHSQ) and Queensland Police’s investigation revealed that the business had no documented safety systems and that the driver of the forklift was not licensed.

The defendant, Brisbane Auto Recycling had entered a guilty plea to one offence contrary to s.34C of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011. A guilty plea was also entered by the two directors to a charge of reckless conduct under s.31 of the Act.

Each failed in their duty to exercise due diligence to ensure the corporate defendant complied with its safety obligations under the Act.

Brisbane Auto Recycling was convicted and fined $3 million while the directors were each convicted and sentenced to 10 months imprisonment, wholly suspended for 20 months. And, of course, there have been other similar cases in Queensland.

So what is happening in Western Australia?

Following a recent call to WorkSafe WA I was told that the Western Australian Work Health and Safety Bill is still under consideration and will be for some time to come. It seems that one reason for the delay is over the implications of the Industrial Manslaughter sections of the bill and how they will be applied.

Whatever the outcome it seems clear that the industrial manslaughter clauses will apply which means that directors and senior managers will be in the firing line.

So what can you do about it?

I suggest you make sure now that you have fully documented safety management system to help you demonstrate your duty of care and due diligence obligations, you train your people and you supervise them.

Asking us to carry out and external and independent audit of your system (using the WorkSafe Plan) to see if you meet WorkSafe WA’s requirements. Call us to discuss

News

Gas Cylinder Safe Handling

Gas Cylinder Safe Handling

Gas cylinders have the potential to cause serious injury, damage, fire or explosion if not handled correctly.   Only cylinders approved for use and carrying current test stamps should be used. Use a trolley to move cylinders or get help. Don’t lift or secure round the...

read more
Know Your Emergency Procedures In The Workplace

Know Your Emergency Procedures In The Workplace

You are required to know what to do in the case of an emergency. Therefore familiarise yourself with the emergency procedures which apply to your work area. You must therefore know: How to raise the alarm. Know what the alarm system sounds mean. The location of fire...

read more
Using Electrical Equipment At Work

Using Electrical Equipment At Work

Electricity is dangerous and can kill - so don’t meddle with it. Only licensed electricians are authorised to work on electrical equipment.  No other employee is authorised to carry out electrical repairs. When working with electrical equipment: Always assume that all...

read more
Huge Work Health & Safety Changes In 2022

Huge Work Health & Safety Changes In 2022

Health & Safety laws are changing all the time. And 2022 is no different. The new Work Health & Safety Act changes are going to affect everyone... Especially small businesses in Perth & Western Australia. Do you have a Safety Management System which...

read more