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Worksafe Victoria’s New Manslaughter Offences

Written by Equilibrium on 25 May 2020

Protecting the health, safety and welfare of employees and other people at every workplace is an essential activity that requires careful and systematic management.

The importance of effective workplace safety has been further highlighted with amendments to Victoria’s laws as they relate to manslaughter offences.

More specifically, the Workplace Safety Legislation Amendment (Workplace Manslaughter and other matters) Bill 2019 passed Parliament on 26 November 2019, is expected to come into effect in 1 July 2020.

Additional information about the new new Worksafe Victoria laws can be found here.

So what are some of the key messages and changes?

> Penalties for safety and environmental breaches are getting tougher.

> New workplace safety laws in Victoria are to be introduced by July 1 2020.

> The commencement of new environmental regulations has been postponed by 12 months, now due to come into effect 1 July 2021.

> After 1 July 2020 workplace manslaughter will be a jailable offence up to 20 years. Fines will increase to $16.5million for a corporation.

> Businesses can be penalised under Environment and OHS laws if human health risks are not managed.

> Compliance with new safety and environment regulations involves ongoing monitoring and updating of risk management systems.

Worksafe expects organisations to eliminate or minimise OHS risks as far as is reasonably practicable, and the new EPA environmental regulations take a similar approach.

Organisations must keep their systems up to date with the ‘state of knowledge’ around business risks. The term ‘state of knowledge’ is used by both EPA Victoria and Worksafe Victoria, and effectively takes into account all the information a business (or any other organisation) should reasonably know about managing identified risks.

More information about the new EPA regulations can be found here.

It is up to all organisations to ensure that their workers are safe and that risks are managed wherever they may be working, including work conducted offsite and at other workplace premises.

Equilibrium staff are available to discuss how the new regulations may impact your business, and what you may to consider for ongoing compliance measures.

If you have any questions about the changes, please contact the team at Equilibrium on BH (03) 9372 5356.

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