Tough new government legislation was introduced last month to combat fatalities in the workplace, after 20 workplace fatalities occurred in Victoria this year alone.
Under the new Industrial Manslaughter Laws employers could face up to 20 years imprisonment and $16.5 million in fines.
This legislation applies to employers who fail to provide adequate workplace support. These laws involve employer negligence that result in the suicide or accidental deaths of their workers.
This law covers deaths caused by mental injuries, including trauma from bullying or other forms of abuse, endured on the job, as well as accidents and illnesses caused by unsafe workplaces or practices.
There have been reported objections to the changes by industry groups like the Victorian Chamber of Commerce, Master Builders Association and the Victorian Farmers Federation who claim that such laws could disadvantage small businesses. However, the government claims the laws would act as a deterrent to employers to take their responsibilities more seriously.
So what does this mean for your business?
The general consensus is that as an employer, you would take your employee’s welfare seriously, resolve any safety issues and act promptly to employee concerns.
Ensure you have an action plan ready and bring it into effect when potential for high risk of death, serious injury or serious illness can be prevented through reasonable means and ensure this plan is adopted and adequately documented.
Industrial Manslaughter Law in detail
More specific information on this law can be found on the Worksafe Victoria web page, “Victoria’s new workplace manslaughter offences”.
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