The Victorian Government faced strong pressure from unions to legislate workplace manslaughter prior to the Victorian election held in November 2018. The State Government now intends to introduce workplace manslaughter laws which would amend the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 (Vic) and is so for likely to include:
- employers, including small businesses, facing maximum penalties of more than $16 million;
- employers, including small businesses, facing maximum sentences of 20 year imprisonment for negligently cause death;
- employers facing liability
- extra resources and funding for WorkSafe Victoria investigate and prosecute employers; and
- employees being excluded from the proposed laws.
While every worker must work in a safe environment and most importantly return home safely at the end of their work day, pro-active occupational health and safety laws that focus on prevention are far better than dealing with the aftermath of a workplace fatality.