Issue 12 2021 - WA company director jailed after workplace death

Updated: Jun 28

A Western Australian company director has been jailed after the death of a worker in his business. The case was prosecuted under current safety legislation, not the industrial manslaughter provisions earmarked for commencement in January 2022. The case emphasises the mandatory requirement to actively engage with risk identification, assessment and control.


The legislation in SA

News outlets are reporting that the Esperance Magistrates court has jailed MT Sheds’ director Mark Withers for two years and two months – with eight months to be served immediately and the remainder suspended. Two workers fell nine metres when high winds hit the site on which they were installing roof sheets.

The company was reportedly fined over $600,000.

Worksafe WA commissioner Darren Kavanagh told the ABC that the jail term is the longest term of imprisonment ever imposed for a work safety and health offence in Australia.

Mandatory risk identification, assessment and management

Under WHS legislation, company officers who do not embrace the emphasis on proactive risk identification by informing themselves about the risks and then managing them can be prosecuted for the failure to do so, not just for the eventual outcomes of an accident. If you are investigated, you should expect an emphasis on whether you did all that was reasonably practicable to identify and manage the risk.

Information and help available

Directors and officers can easily access information about their obligations and how to address them. Call us to arrange briefing.

The Accountable Leader has the My ERLibrary management system, developed by industry experts to help your business better manage policies and procedures, identify risks, responsibilities and schedule review processes.

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