The Qld Parliament has voted on and passed the Work Health and Safety and Other Legislative Amendment Bill 2017. As reported when the Bill was first introduced to Parliament, the significant amendments to the current health and safety legislation includes:
- The introduction of a new charge, “Industrial Manslaughter” offence
- The establishment of “Office of the WHS Prosecutor”
- Referring WHS Disputes to the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission
- Imposing an obligation to comply specifically with Codes of Practice or exceed compliance.
Industrial Relations Minister Grace Grace said the laws were in response to the deaths of two workers at the Eagle Farm Racecourse last year, and the deaths of four visitors to the Dreamworld Theme Park on the Gold Coast.
The charge for “Industrial Manslaughter” will apply to the Work Health and Safety Act 2011, Electrical Safety Act 2002 and Safety in Recreational Water Activities Act 2011. Queensland will now join the ACT as the only states or territories with such a charge. It has been indicated it may be replicated in the resources industry also. With the amendments now passed, it is imperative that all “persons conducting a business or undertaking” are fully aware of the Codes of Practice which apply to their work and can demonstrate strict compliance with that Code/s or that they are exceeding the standards set by the Code/s.