Supporting Families Impacted By Workplace Manslaughter

15 November 2019

The Andrews Labor Government is better supporting families and injured workers, and improving Worksafe’s ability to investigate and prosecute offenders of workplace manslaughter.

The Labor Government today announced a $10 million package to boost Worksafe’s investigation and enforcement capacity, with a specialist team established to lead investigations and prosecutions of workplace manslaughter.

With workplace manslaughter laws currently before the Parliament, five new investigators will also be recruited and a comprehensive training program will be rolled out for first responder inspectors.

Based on input from families who have lost loved ones in workplace incidents, the package to support families also includes:

  • Clear protocols in place between WorkSafe and Victoria Police that require families to be notified as soon as possible after a workplace death or a serious injury
  • Two additional dedicated WorkSafe Family Liaison Officers to provide coordinated case management for families throughout the investigation and any legal processes following a workplace death
  • Additional support including expanded grief counselling and a dedicated in-house family support service to be piloted at the Coroners Court for families affected by workplace deaths
  • Including truck drivers killed on the road in the workplace death toll, ensuring these deaths get the focus they deserve

In addition to these immediate changes, the Government is reviewing the adequacy of current compensation arrangements to ensure families impacted by fatalities and traumatic events at work receive appropriate financial support.

The Workplace Incidents Consultative Committee – made up of families who have lost a loved one at work – will advise on future reforms and initiatives, with $4 million set aside as a ‘Families Fund’ to ensure effective support.

Up to 30 people are killed in workplaces across the state each year, with 20 people having already tragically lost their lives so far this year. Under the Government’s proposed workplace manslaughter laws, employers who negligently cause a workplace death will face fines of up to $16.5 million and individuals up to 20 years in jail.

Following introduction of the new laws, a wide-ranging education campaign will be developed to build public knowledge of the offence and support stakeholders to prepare for commencement of the new laws.

Quotes attributable to Premier Daniel Andrews

“Fundamentally, our reforms are about saving lives. But if someone does tragically die at work, we’ll make sure their family get the support they need.”

“No one should find out about a loved one dying at work on the radio – and with these changes, they won’t.”

Quote attributable to Minister for Workplace Safety Jill Hennessy

“This is about standing up for working people – and better protecting those touched by tragedy – because there is nothing more important than every worker coming home safe every day.”

Reviewed 19 August 2020

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