For many years in Australia, the appetite for industrial manslaughter offences on the statute books has waxed and waned. But the events in Queensland with multiple fatalities at Eagle Farm and Dreamworld in 2016 gave the push additional impetus, with the Queensland Government announcing a Best Practice Review of Workplace Health and Safety Queensland that would include recommendations for industrial manslaughter provisions. Those provisions commenced in Queensland as of October 2017. Up until that point, only ACT had such a provision on the books. Now it seems other jurisdictions are looking to follow suit.

Our Work Health and Safety team has prepared a discussion paper exploring:

  • the state of play around the country in terms of the current status of the laws on industrial manslaughter, planned reform efforts and issues arising in specific jurisdictions and recommendations for companies in light of these reforms;
  • the background to the call for industrial manslaughter reform for health and safety laws;
  • why we say that industrial manslaughter provisions may not be the answer; and
  • future directions for a more productive way ahead to solving the true issues at the heart of this particular call for law reform.