OHS: ‘reckless endangerment’ and officer’s duties

Orbit Drilling Pty Ltd v The Queen; Smith v The Queen [2012] VSCA 82

This decision considered the ‘reckless endangerment’ provision of the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 (VIC) (s.32). Its application is of significance because the section is modelled in the recently introduced harmonised legislation which now operates in Queensland, New South Wales, the Commonwealth and Territories.

Section 31 of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (Qld) imposes a category 1 offence if a person to whom a duty applies, without reasonable excuse causes serious injury or death, and the person to whom the duty applied, is reckless to the risk of that person’s death or serious injury.

The offence applies to officers and the corporate entity. The extended definition of officers could include the supervisor of the person who is seriously injured or killed.

Brisbane Barrister – David Cormack

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