The Andrews Labor Government’s new workplace manslaughter taskforce has today held its inaugural meeting – to discuss tough new laws to keep workers safe.
The Workplace Manslaughter Implementation Taskforce was announced earlier this month as the first step in developing new legislation to make workplace manslaughter a criminal offence.
Led by the Member for Sydenham Natalie Hutchins, the taskforce includes members and representatives from business, unions, industry and victims’ families.
Supported by a Workplace Fatalities and Serious Incidents Reference Group, the taskforce will ensure those who have lost loved ones in workplace accidents can contribute to the reforms.
A Legal Advisory Group comprising legal sector stakeholders will also provide advice on the proposed new offence.
Up to 30 people are killed on the job in Victoria each year, and already this year there are eight families mourning a loved one who didn’t come home from work.
Under the proposed new laws, employers will face fines of almost $16 million and individuals responsible for negligently causing death will be held to account and will face up to 20 years in jail.
The offence will also apply when an employer’s negligent conduct causes the death of an innocent person.
WorkSafe Victoria will be given the power and resources necessary to ensure non-compliant employers can be prosecuted—emphasising the message that putting people’s lives at risk in the workplace will not be tolerated.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Workplace Safety Jill Hennessy
“Today’s meeting is a vital step forward in delivering our promise to make workplaces safer for all Victorians.”
“Our proposed changes will not only hold employers to account, it will also give heartbroken families the justice they deserve.”
Quote attributable to Implementation Taskforce Chair and Member for Sydenham Natalie Hutchins
“The views of the taskforce will be critical in shaping new laws that will act as a strong deterrent – ensuring that employers take workplace safety seriously.”