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Norman Waterhouse

Industrial manslaughter bill passes South Australian parliament

The Work Health and Safety (Industrial Manslaughter) Amendment Act 2023 (the Amendment Act), which we discussed in a previous article here, passed through the South Australian Parliament on 30 November 2023 and was assented to on 7 December 2023.

The date on which the amendments in the Amendment Act take effect is yet to be proclaimed, however, the Amendment Act will amend the Work Health and Safety Act 2012 (SA) (the Act) to introduce the offence of ‘industrial manslaughter.’ An individual or body corporate commits industrial manslaughter if:

  • the individual or body corporate has a health and safety duty; and
  • the individual or body corporate engages in conduct that breaches that duty; and
  • the conduct of the individual or body corporate causes the death of a worker to whom that duty is owed; and
  • the individual or body corporate either engages in the conduct with gross negligence, or is reckless as to the risk to a worker of death or serious injury or illness.

The proposed maximum penalty is 20 years’ imprisonment for an offence committed by an individual, or up to an $18 million fine for an offence committed by a body corporate.

Since our last article, the Amendment Act was amended to provide that the offence of industrial manslaughter is a major indictable offence, and that any summary or minor indictable offence against the Act or any other Act will be dealt with according to the procedures applicable to major indictable offences. In other words, where there is an incident which attracts a charge of industrial manslaughter as well as charges of other offences under the Act, all of the charges will be heard in the Magistrates Court, not the South Australian Employment Court which generally has jurisdiction to hear offences pursuant to the Act.

For more specific information on any of the material contained in this article please contact Sathish Dasan on +61 8 8210 1253 or, Anastasia Gravas on +61 8217 1331 or or Annabelle Narayan on +61 8 8210 1292 or

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