The resources sector has been put on notice as industrial manslaughter offences commenced in Queensland on 1 July 2020, with senior officers facing a maximum 20 years' jail and companies facing fines exceeding $13 million.

In response to the Government's concerns with the number of safety incidents in the resources sector over the last 18 months, the Mineral and Energy Resources and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2020 introduces an offence of industrial manslaughter into the resources sector in Queensland through amendments to the:

  • Coal Mining Safety and Health Act 1999
  • Mining and Quarrying Safety and Health Act 1999
  • Explosives Act 1999
  • Petroleum and Gas (Production and Safety) Act 2004.

The amendments align the industrial manslaughter offences under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (Qld) and mean employers, or their senior officers, will commit offences where negligent conduct causes the death of a worker.

The definition of senior officer is not limited to directors and encompasses executive officers (even if they are not given that title) who are concerned with, or take part in, the employer's management.

Senior officers found guilty of industrial manslaughter face penalties of up to 20 years' imprisonment, while corporate employers face a maximum fine of 100,000 penalty units.

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