Tough new Industrial Manslaughter laws send strong message on importance of worker safety in NSW


After 20 years of campaigning by families, friends, and unions whose members have been killed at work, today the Industrial Manslaughter Bill passed NSW Parliament.

NSW is the last mainland state to make industrial manslaughter an offence.

The Minns Government has fulfilled its promise to legislate industrial manslaughter.

Since 2019 more than 300 workers have been killed in NSW. The new Industrial Manslaughter law will give prosecutors the ability to hold a business or individual responsible for the death of a person due to gross negligence in the workplace.

The maximum penalty will be 25 years jail for an individual, which is consistent with the existing maximum penalty for manslaughter in the NSW Crimes Act.

There will be a maximum penalty of $20 million in fines for a body corporate, the highest in Australia.

It will be supported by a new unit established in the NSW Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions.

The new law does not create new work health and safety obligations or duties for employers but creates a strong new offence to deter unsafe practices and strengthen accountability.

The Government consulted widely before introducing the bill and the bill was supported by an overwhelming majority of the Parliament.

A review is to be undertaken 18 months after the commencement of the provisions.

Minister for Work Health and Safety Sophie Cotsis said:

“This is an historic moment for worker safety in New South Wales.

“These are not laws we ever want to use. We want them to act as a deterrent and a reminder that this government takes worker safety seriously.

“We want those responsible for workplace safety – who are responsible for the lives of their workers – to take that role with utmost seriousness.

“The message sent today is clear – unsafe practices will not be tolerated.

“It is a fundamental right of every worker to go to work and come home safely to their loved ones.”

Co-Chair of the SafeWork Families and Injured Workers Support and Advisory Group (FIWSAG) Jacqueline Quinlivan said:

“This has been such a long time coming, but we can now say we have the industrial manslaughter laws that are required.

“On behalf of the Family and Injured Workers Support and Advisory Group (FIWSAG) and all those who are injured or have lost a loved one through industrial death, we would like to say, ‘this is for them’.

“This is a step forward for NSW as a jurisdiction and I want to thank absolutely everyone who made this possible.”

FIWSAG member Patrizia Cassaniti:

“I would like to thank and congratulate Minister Sophie Cotsis and her team for all the hard work and the Minns Government for making this Bill a priority and a long overdue reality.

“A big thank as well to everyone involved including Unions NSW, CFMMEU, and the Families and Injured Workers Support and Advisory Group for advocating and lobbying for industrial manslaughter to finally be accepted and become law.

“Rob and I would like to dedicate this accomplishment to Christopher and every other worker who went to work and never came home.”

FIWSAG member Dave White said:

“The passing of the industrial manslaughter bill is a milestone that the FIWSAG has been working towards over the past five years.

“This bill introduces an additional and significant deterrent for those individuals in the workplace who continue to risk the health and safety of workers.

“Whilst this won’t bring back our loved ones who’ve been lost in workplace incidents, this passing of the bill may save other families from having to endure the grief and pain of losing someone who never came home from work.”

/Public Release. View in full here.