Queensland Aims to Penalise Negligence among Employers

Employee Negligence

A number of high-profile workplace deaths in 2016 led the Queensland government to establish a law that would criminalise negligence among employers.

Employment Minister Grace Grace said that the proposal has gained the endorsement of Tim Lyons, the independent reviewer for the Best Practice Review of Workplace Health and Safety. It aims to prevent the occurrence of workplace fatalities, following incidents involving two construction workers at the Eagle Farm Racecourse in Brisbane and four employees at the Dreamworld leisure park on the Gold Coast.

Criminal Act

The proposed legislation served as the result of raised concerns about the efficiency of existing sanctions under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011, according to Grace. The Queensland government has supported Lyons’ initial review that officials should establish a new offence. It will be due by June 30.

Grace noted that the state government’s support meant that Lyons could solicit feedback from stakeholders on how to launch and enforce the proposed offence. Rapid Legal Solutions noted that The Best Practice Review of Workplace Health and Safety could also help lawyers in Townsville, Brisbane and other cities in providing counsel to their clients.

Other Proposals

Aside from the proposed workplace offence, the bill seeks to exclude convicted murderers from parole if they fail to disclose the whereabouts of their victims’ bodies. Attorney General Yvette D’Ath unveiled the legislation in the state parliament, following a similar proposal from the opposition.

The Legal Affairs and Community Safety Committee will provide feedback on the ‘no body, no parole’ bill later this year. Criminals would serve their maximum sentence in prison if they fail to give information on the location of their victims’ bodies.

Labour laws exist to protect the rights of employees. In case there are grievances, it’s best to seek professional advice and representation before planning how to file a legal dispute on your concern.