27 February 2019

An independent review of Australia’s workplace safety system has recommended a national industrial manslaughter law, to ensure that bosses who kill workers can be sent to jail. Rejecting claims by the business lobby that existing general manslaughter laws are sufficient, the review noted significant technical hurdles under the general law, which make “prosecutions of large companies for manslaughter almost impossible”. The report endorsed community demands that there “should be a separate industrial manslaughter offence where there is a gross deviation from a reasonable standard of care that leads to a workplace death”, and the new law should prevent businesses using their corporate structure as a legal shield.