NT industrial manslaughter laws to be debated by end 2019

Monday, 23 September, 2019

NT industrial manslaughter laws to be debated by end 2019

Industrial manslaughter could be an offence in the Northern Territory (NT) by the end of the year, according to the territory government. The proposed laws — intended for NT parliament debate by the end of 2019 — follow Tim Lyons’ recommendations from the ‘Best Practice Review of Workplace Health and Safety in the NT’. If passed, the new laws would see senior officers and employers face life imprisonment or businesses, regardless of their size, liable for fines up to $10 million if it is found reckless or negligent conduct has caused a workplace fatality, the government said.

Currently, only individuals can be charged with manslaughter for a workplace death under the territory’s Criminal Code. This means an individual operating a small business as a sole trader can face a maximum penalty of life in prison; however, there is no equivalent for a body corporate. NT Attorney General and Minister for Justice Natasha Fyles said the laws will “help protect Territorians at their place of work and mean employers are on notice about unsafe practices and sites”.

If enacted, the territory will join Queensland and the Australian Capital Territory as the only jurisdictions to have an industrial manslaughter offence. The offence will not be applied retrospectively, the government said.

Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/fotofritz16

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