26 September 2023

Work safe or face harsher consequences

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WorkSafe has launched a new campaign highlighting Victoria’s new workplace manslaughter laws and the tough penalties they carry.

The Minister for Workplace Safety, Jill Hennessy joined Chief Executive at WorkSafe Victoria, Colin Radford to launch the campaign and warn employers of the tough financial penalties and jail terms they face if their negligence causes a workplace death.

“With five workplace deaths already this year, the campaign is a timely reminder of the responsibility [of] all employers to ensure that their employees are safe at work,” Ms Hennessy said.

“Under the workplace manslaughter legislation, companies will face more than $16 million in fines, and individual employers responsible for a workplace death up to 20 years in jail,” she said.

Ms Hennessy said the implementation of the new laws included dedicated support for families following a workplace death and a specialist WorkSafe team to lead investigations and prosecutions.

She said more WorkSafe inspections than ever before were undertaken in 2019, with 49,771 visits completed and 14,939 health and safety compliance notices issued.

She said WorkSafe would recruit an additional 40 specialist construction inspectors by 2022, with recruitment now underway for 10 of the positions.

“Sadly 24 workers died in 2019 with farms once again the most dangerous workplaces with six deaths,” she said.

“Tragically, two of these were children aged two and three years old.”

Ms Hennessy said the construction industry also continued to be over-represented in workplace fatality statistics.

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