A Victorian Magistrate has recently prosecuted a self-employed person for breaches of the Victorian Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004. These breached included, Sections 24 and 32 which describes a duty of a self-employed person not to expose other persons to risks arising from their conduct. In addition, a more serious offence of reckless endangerment was applied, where a person must not place another person at the workplace in danger of serious injury with a maximum penalty of up to 20,000 penalty units and/or 5 years imprisonment.
This example demonstrates that custodian sentences are now being implemented from growing pressure on Governments around Australia to apply harsher penalties on individuals and businesses who breach the safety duties. Recently in 2017, the Queensland Government has introduced a new offence of industrial manslaughter with growing pressure on other states to introduce the same penalty to maintain consistency nationally.
These findings should remind all individuals that safety is paramount within a business and necessary planning and systems must be implemented, adhered too, enforced and monitored regularly.
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