On 25 March 2022, the first person in Queensland was found to be guilty of the offence of industrial manslaughter. This case is especially relevant for Queensland company boards and executives, as well as business generally, as there have been limited industrial manslaughter charges in Queensland since its inception in 2017.
Critically, the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (Qld) provides for offences to be brought against individuals in several ways. These offences are brought against individuals as a senior officer, or as a person conducting a business or undertaking. In R v Owen, Jefferey Owen was charged as the business itself. Here, there is yet to be a successful prosecution of a Queensland senior officer for the offence of industrial manslaughter.
It is especially crucial that officers and their respective organisations understand the increased risk profile caused by this offence. More significant than ever is ensuring that officers maintain proactive steps in order to exercise general due diligence.
Ultimately, Australian regulators are applying industrial manslaughter laws following workplace fatalities. If you or a person you know are looking to examine their own relevant risk profile with respect to industrial manslaughter, please contact the Creevey Russell Lawyers Crime and Misconduct team as soon as possible.