The Queensland government has recently passed tough new industrial manslaughter laws aimed at protecting workers on the job.
Industrial Relations Minister Grace Grace said the new laws would leave negligent employers culpable in workplace deaths with nowhere to hide.
“Negligent employers culpable in workplace fatalities in Queensland will face severe penalties for the new offence of industrial manslaughter,” Grace said.
“Individuals guilty of industrial manslaughter will face 20 years imprisonment, with corporate offenders liable for fines of up to $10 million.
“These penalties send out a strong message to all employers that negligence causing death won’t be tolerated under any circumstances and because of increasingly elaborate corporate structures, up until now it’s been difficult to prosecute some employers for manslaughter,” Grace said.
“But these new laws will hold all employers - regardless of their size or structure - accountable for negligence contributing to a worker’s death.
“Last year’s tragic workplace deaths at Eagle Farm and Dreamworld, which cost six people their lives, brought home the need for these tough new laws.
“The legislation passed is all about ensuring all Queensland workers can return home safely to there loved ones after a day’s work.”
According to Grace the creation of the new offence of industrial manslaughter was one of 58 recommendations contained in Tim Lyons’s Best Practice Review of Workplace Health and Safety Queensland.
Michael Garrels, who lost his 20-year son Jason to a preventable workplace accident in Clermont in 2012 and who sits on a government committee established to empower and give other people affected by workplace tragedies a voice, said: “It’s great to see the government implementing a crucial preventative measure like this to protect Queenslanders in the workplace.
“I believe these laws will definitely save lives and that if they’d been in place at the time they would have made a difference in my son Jason’s case.
“The only people with anything to be afraid of are those that are doing the wrong thing,” said Garrels.
“Of the 40 affected families who have been actively involved in the committee, not one of them thinks the creation of this new offence is a bad idea.”
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