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Workplace Offences

Offences under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 are divided into 3 categories:

Category 1 Offences

Section 31 states:

(1) A person commits a category 1 offence if—

            (a) the person has a health and safety duty; and

            (b) the person, without reasonable excuse, engages in conduct that exposes an individual to whom that duty is owed to a risk of death or serious injury or illness; and

            (c) the person is reckless as to the risk to an individual of death or serious injury or illness.

Maximum penalty:

            (a) for an offence committed by an individual, other than as a person conducting a business or undertaking or as an officer of a person conducting a business or undertaking — 3000 penalty units or 5 years imprisonment; or

            (b) for an offence committed by an individual as a person conducting a business or undertaking or as an officer of a person conducting a business or undertaking—6000 penalty units or 5 years imprisonment; or

            (c) for an offence committed by a body corporate—30000 penalty units.

Note:

In this division, the penalty applicable to a body corporate is separately expressed. Otherwise the Penalties and Sentences Act 1992, section 181B applies for this Act.

(2) The prosecution bears the burden of proving that the conduct was engaged in without reasonable excuse.
(3) A category 1 offence is a crime.

Category 2 Offences

Section 32: Failure to comply with health and safety duty

A person commits a category 2 offence if—

            (a) the person has a health and safety duty; and

            (b) the person fails to comply with that duty; and

            (c) the failure exposes an individual to a risk of death or serious injury or illness.

Maximum penalty:

            (a) for an offence committed by an individual, other than as a person conducting a business or undertaking or as an officer of a person conducting a business or undertaking—1500 penalty units; or

            (b) for an offence committed by an individual as a person conducting a business or undertaking or as an officer of a person conducting a business or undertaking—3000 penalty units; or

            (c) for an offence committed by a body corporate—15000 penalty units.

Category 3 Offences

Section 33: Failure to comply with health and safety duty

A person commits a category 3 offence if:

            (a) the person has a health and safety duty; and

            (b) the person fails to comply with that duty.

Maximum Penalty:

            (a) for an offence committed by an individual, other than as a person conducting a business or undertaking or as an officer of a person conducting a business or undertaking — 500 penalty units; or

            (b) for an offence committed by an individual as a person conducting a business or undertaking or as an officer of a person conducting a business or undertaking — 1000 penalty units; or

            (c) for an offence committed by a body corporate — 5000 penalty units.

Note

See also the note to section 31(1).

33A Duty prevails over particular excuses

For an offence against section 32 or 33, the Criminal Code sections 23 (1) and 24 are subject to divisions 1 to 4.

34 Exceptions

(1) A volunteer does not commit an offence under this division for a failure to comply with a health and safety duty, except a duty under section 28 or 29.

(2) An unincorporated association does not commit an offence under this Act, and is not liable for a civil penalty under this Act, for a failure to comply with a duty or obligation imposed on the unincorporated association under this Act.

(3) However—

            (a) an officer of an unincorporated association (other than a volunteer) may be liable for a failure to comply with a duty under section 27; and

            (b) a member of an unincorporated association may be liable for failure to comply with a duty under section 28 or 29.

 

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