Victorian bosses could be jailed for 20 years if they breach this rule

Victorian bosses could be jailed for TWENTY YEARS and hit with a $16.5million fine if their staff die after becoming infected with coronavirus at work

  • Victorian bosses could be jailed for 20 years if worker dies from COVID-19
  • A boss must have been proven to have failed in their duty of care of the worker
  • They can also be forced to pay up to $16.5million in fines for their negligence
  • The punishment comes as new industrial manslaughter laws are introduced

Bosses in Victoria could be jailed for 20 years and forced to pay $16.5million in fines if their workers contract coronavirus and die. 

The penalties can be handed out to any employer in Victoria under the state’s industrial manslaughter laws.

For the penalties to apply, a boss must be proven to have failed in their duty of care and contributed to the worker’s death, the Herald Sun reported.

‘Our workplace manslaughter laws mean that employers who negligently breach their duties, causing the death of their workers, can be prosecuted and potentially go to jail,’ Workplace Safety Minister Jill Hennessy said.

Bosses could be jailed for 20 years and forced to pay $16.5 million in fines if their workers contract coronavirus and die (stock image)

Bosses could be jailed for 20 years and forced to pay $16.5 million in fines if their workers contract coronavirus and die (stock image)

'Our workplace manslaughter laws mean that employers who negligently breach their duties, causing the death of their workers, can be prosecuted and potentially go to jail,' Workplace Safety Minister Jill Hennessy said

‘Our workplace manslaughter laws mean that employers who negligently breach their duties, causing the death of their workers, can be prosecuted and potentially go to jail,’ Workplace Safety Minister Jill Hennessy said

‘Those duties include providing a safe and healthy workplace.’

The law is part of new legislation that was brought in at the start of the month that aims to better protect workers who are living with diseases to mental health issues.  

Former state premier Jeff Kennett said the penalties should be pushed further and apply to government officials. 

‘I am just making the point that we should not discriminate and apply them to anyone that has made decision where because of their actions, there is a less than desirable result.’ 

Bosses also risk $9,913 fines if they fail to enforce social distancing and other protective measures in the workplace.

The threat of penalties comes after a major inspection and enforcement blitz was carried out at at-risk Victorian businesses earlier this month. 

The state government announced the crackdown on July 19 to target at-risk workplaces including those with known COVID-19 cases, or where there was a high risk of the virus given precedent in the industry. 

A boss must be proven to have failed in their duty of care and contributed to the worker's death (stock image, a nurse holds a COVID-19 nasal swab test kit)

A boss must be proven to have failed in their duty of care and contributed to the worker’s death (stock image, a nurse holds a COVID-19 nasal swab test kit)

The threat of penalties comes after a major inspection and enforcement blitz was carried out at at-risk Victorian businesses earlier this month (pictured, cleaning staff at a Melbourne aged care home)

The threat of penalties comes after a major inspection and enforcement blitz was carried out at at-risk Victorian businesses earlier this month (pictured, cleaning staff at a Melbourne aged care home)

WorkSafe, Emergency Management Victoria and Victoria Police will coordinate the enforcement blitz in workplaces across the state.

Almost 8,000 site visits and 3,066 virtual inquiries have been made by WorkSafe between March 15 and July 15.

Of these, 3,460 visits and 1,700 virtual inquiries were directly related to or addressed COVID-19.      

‘This inspection blitz will identify any workplaces who are not meeting the high standards necessary to keep their employees safe,’ Workplace Safety Minister Jill Hennessy said in a statement.

‘There is no room to cut corners or be complacent. Workplaces need to take every step possible to maintain safe workplaces and prevent or limit the spread of coronavirus.’

Advertisement