Manslaughter legislation to extend to off-site personnel in Queensland

November 27, 2019 Mining Editor

People who support mines in remote operations centres may also be subject to mining industrial manslaughter legislation under changes to be introduced by the Queensland Government.

AMSJ understands that the new industrial manslaughter legislation announced in Queensland Parliament yesterday will extend to off-site mining personnel including those operating centres such as Brisbane’s BHP’s Integrated Remote Operations Centre (IROC).

According to sources, the industrial manslaughter legislation will also target all obligation holders under the various Queensland mining and petroleum acts.

This means that those deemed responsible in a range of mining activities, traditionally untouchable roles under existing legislation, may be impacted by the industrial manslaughter reforms. AMSJ understands that the following personnel may be targeted:

  • Suppliers of equipment (including  designers, manufacturers, importers and suppliers of plant );
  • Manufacturers, importers or supplier of substances for used at a coal mine;
  • Directors of companies;
  • Head office personnel with specific responsibilities for mining health and safety;
  • Site Senior Executives;
  • Remote operators;
  • Contractors;
  • Erectors and installers of plant;
  • Consultants, advisors and service providers to industry.

The changes, while yet to pass through the Queensland Parliament, could have a significant impact on the mining industry in terms of risk in the provision of equipment and services to the mining industry.

Some in the sector say that the proposed manslaughter legislation may not have the desired effect and have labelled it a ‘toothless tiger’ highlighting that provisions of up to three-year prison terms under existing mining safety and health legislation have not been exercised in the state since the introduction of reformed coal mining legislation in 1999.

Bryan Gerdes, father of Jack Gerdes who was killed earlier this year told ABC Radio today “It depends what it does, like who’s going to swing for it, that’s going to be the thing. Will it be just past down the line till somebody cant defend themselves. Will it happen to the CEO’s where it is supposed to”

Bryan said “This (industrial manslaughter) should have been introduced after the first one (fatality) or even before the first one”

A member of AMSJ’s Facebook Community said yesterday “Let’s get real here, perhaps they could get serious and start prosecuting negligence first! How many prosecutions have been recommended and carried out to date? How many mining companies have been given minimal dollar penalties?

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