Calls for industrial manslaughter laws after death of NSW scaffolding worker

Calls for industrial manslaughter laws after death of NSW scaffolding worker

Following our article about the Federal Government principally supporting industrial manslaughter laws, there have been increased calls for implementation following the death of a young scaffolding worker in Sydney this week.

The death of Mr Cassaniti comes just a month after a review of national workplace safety laws, where independent reviewer, Marie Boland, called for industrial manslaughter to be made an offence nationwide.

Currently, industrial manslaughter laws are in effect in the ACT and Queensland, with Labor pledging to introduce a similar charge in NSW and Victoria. The implementation of such laws would mean employers could face prison time or multimillion-dollar fines for workplace deaths involving a gross deviation from a reasonable standard of care

Dave Noonan, the CFMEU National Construction Secretary said that greed, a failure to properly plan and “unrealistic” construction programs were all contributing to the risk for workers, exacerbated by the sustained building boom in the eastern states.

Mr Noonan explained that “in many cases, an approach, even by very large contractors, seems to see the payment of fines for breaches of safety laws as just a cost of doing business.”

“It’s clear that there are lots of circumstances where employers who are reckless and completely negligent in terms of keeping safe workplaces get off with a slap on the wrist.”

Mr Cassaniti’s family are awaiting the outcome of the SafeWork investigation but have also called on the government to focus further on safety checks and procedures at every construction site across the state.

The Berejiklian government has not responded to calls for comment and has directed all enquiries to SafeWork NSW.

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