OHS Regulator News

WHS Offence With Life Sentence Begins in Northern Territory.

Folks in the Northern Territory unfortunately have a far higher number of workplace fatalities than any other state or territory in Australia. In response to this, the NT government has agreed to introduce Industrial Manslaughter laws with the possibility of life imprisonment for company officers.

Earlier in the year, former ACTU assistant secretary Tim Lyons' put forward a best practice review of WHS in the Territory, of which 23 of his 27 recommendations were adopted.

The Territory government released a 10 page response, which you can find here (www.newsroom.nt.gov.au/api/attachment/byId/11536

Attorney-General and Justice Minister Natasha Fyles highlighted five recommendations to be introduced through a three-phase implementation plan:

  • Creating the offence of industrial manslaughter with maximum penalties of life imprisonment for individuals and $10 million for bodies corporate;
  • Formalising an investigations unit within the WorkSafe inspectorate to focus on serious incidents and fatalities;
  • Working with the WHS Advisory Council and Workers Rehabilitation and Compensation Advisory Council to improve the support offered to the families of victims of workplace incidents;
  • Tightening the approval processes for enforceable undertakings; and 
  • Completing a review of WorkSafe's decisions and development processes for publishing safety alerts after serious incidents.

The decision of the Territory government may help to inform decisions made in Victoria as discussions around how to introduce the laws here continue to take place.

WorkSafe Releases New Web Updates On Mental Health

Just a small update here. WorkSafe have updated their website to contain a new summary of mental health safety basics, which can be found here:

www.worksafe.vic.gov.au/mental-health-safety-basics?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=WW_Wednesday&utm_content=MH_webpage

The webpage boasts updated and easily accessible information on:

  • Legal duties of employers and employees
  • Causes of workplace injury
  • Creating a mentally healthy workplace
  • Links to additional resources to get you started.

The web updates are another sign that as WorkSafe are taking steps to address the ever increasing amount of mental health claims that enter the WorkCover system as the mental health of workers is discussed and recognised more readily.

Safe Work Australia news
Fatality statistics

These are the most up to date numbers as of July 8th.

  • 25 in Transport, postal & warehousing
  • 17 in Agriculture, forestry & fishing
  • 11 in Construction
  • 7 in Public Administration & safety
  • 6 in Electricity, gas, water & waste services
  • 5 in Mining
  • 2 Professional, scientific & technical services
  • 2 in Wholesale trade
  • 1 in Manufacturing
  • 1 in 'Other services'

To check for updates, and for more details on fatalities since 2003, go to the Safe Work Australia Work-related fatalities webpage and in particular, here.

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