Working to Improve Workplace Standards
The offence of workplace manslaughter has been introduced into Victorian occupational health and safety laws and applies to workplace death that occur after 1 July 2020. The offence may also apply when the death of the person occurs some time after the relevant conduct, for example where an employee developed a chemical exposure-related disease.
If convicted of workplace manslaughter, penalties that can apply are a maximum of 25 years imprisonment for individuals; and a maximum fine of $16.5 million for body corporates.
Workplace safety is a priority for every farming business; however the legislation that has passed through the parliament may lead to perverse safety outcomes.
The Victorian Farmers Federation submitted well-thought amendments to the legislation that would have achieved greater fairness across all workplaces, but also led to improvements in safety standards.
The key recommendation of the VFF was to exempt family businesses from the legislation. The intent of the exemption was to provide peace of mind to family members by way of protecting a person from prosecution in the instance a family member tragically died in a workplace accident.
The VFF remains committed to improving workplace standards across rural and regional Victoria, and will continue to work with industry, government and key stakeholders to ensure employees and families remain safe while at work.
For further information, VFF members can contact the VFF Workplace Relations team by email firstname.lastname@example.org.