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Norman Waterhouse

‘Industrial Manslaughter’ – proposed bill introduced into SA Parliament

On 6 July 2023, the Work Health and Safety (Industrial Manslaughter) Amendment Bill 2023 (the Bill) was introduced to the South Australian Legislative Council.

The introduction of the Bill follows a meeting of the Commonwealth, State and Territory work health and safety ministers in February 2023, where it was agreed that industrial manslaughter should form part of the model work health and safety code nationwide. The Bill, if passed, will bring South Australia into line with Western Australia, the Northern Territory, Queensland, Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory which have already criminalised industrial manslaughter.

The effect of the Bill is to establish in the Work Health and Safety Act 2012 (SA) (the Act) 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 Bill does not impose any additional duties on persons undertaking a business or undertaking, but provides for a more substantial penalty where a breach of the existing duties through gross negligence or recklessness results in the death of an individual.

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

The Bill proposes that the two-year limitation period for prosecution under the Act would not apply to industrial manslaughter prosecutions, consistent with the ordinary law of criminal manslaughter.

We will provide further updates as the Bill passes through the Parliament.

For more specific information on any of the material contained in this article please contact Sathish Dasan on +61 8 8210 1253 or, Thomas Tagirara on +61 8217 1337 or or Annabelle Narayan on +61 8 8210 1292 or

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