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Criminal Sanction For O H & S Failures Print E-mail

will_intro.jpgThis paper by Anthony Glynn S.C. focuses on the prosecution and defence of breaches of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (“the Act”). The paper was presented at the QLS 5th Annual North Queensland Symposium on 9 November 2012.

Changes from the 1995 Workplace Health And Safety Act (“The Repealed Act”)


Under the Act, what is called the “primary duty of care” falls upon persons who conduct businesses or undertakings (PCBU). It is owed to their workers and other workers when at work in the business or undertaking. A less onerous duty is owed to others at the workplace (s.19). There are also duties cast on PCBUs conducting specific types of undertakings, for example designing plant, substances, or structures for use in workplaces; they have more specific duties for activities which may impinge on a workplace (s.20 – 26). Finally there are duties which are cast on those who work within the business/undertaking, namely officers of the PCBU, workers in the business or undertaking or others at the workplace (s.27 – 29).

Officers of PCBUs

“Officer” is more broadly defined than “executive officer” under the repealed legislation.

Under the repealed legislation, the executive officer was required to ensure a corporation complied with the repealed Act, and under the Act an officer of a PCBU must exercise due diligence (which is defined) to ensure that the PCBU complies with its obligations. In both cases, a failure to exercise reasonable diligence/due diligence to ensure compliance makes the officer liable for the breach. The major differences are:

1. That the onus now lies on the prosecution to prove an absence of due diligence, rather than on the defendant to prove reasonable diligence was exercised; and

2. That arguably, under the repealed Act, it was necessary to convict a corporation first, whereas the liability of an officer arises independently of the conviction of the PCBU, under the Act.

It is in the area of offences and their prosecution that particularly significant changes have been brought about by the Act.

The liability structure

Under the repealed Act there was a single offence of failing to perform an obligation. The level of penalty depended on whether there were health consequences of the breach, and varied according to the level of the consequence. Under the Act there are significant changes to:

(a) The offences;

(b) The way they are to be prosecuted or defended;

(c) The appellate structure.

The New Offences

There are three categories of offence, with different elements and different outcomes, dependent, not on consequence of conduct, but upon the seriousness of the conduct itself. There are other offences concerned with the administration of the Act – e.g. s.188 – 190 with respect to hindering, obstructing, impersonating, assaulting etc. of inspectors exercising their powers, but I don’t intend to refer further to these latter types of offences.

The maximum penalties are significantly greater, and the level of liability will vary according to the status of the offender.

The most serious offence is the Category 1 offence (s.31) which is designated as a crime, and pursuant to s.3 of the Criminal Code is an indictable offence and must be prosecuted on indictment, (that is before a judge and jury, or in rare cases, a judge alone).

Category 2 and Category 3 offences (s.32 and 33) are simple offences and must be prosecuted summarily under the Justices Act (s.230).

A common element for each category is that the person charged owes a health and safety duty.

For a Category 1 offence, the prosecution must also prove:-

(a) That the PCBU, without reasonable excuse, engaged in conduct that exposed an individual, to whom the duty is owed, to the risk of death or serious injury or illness;


(b) The PCBU was reckless as to the risk to an individual of death or serious injury or illness.

For a Category 2 offence, the prosecution must, additional to the health and safety duty, prove that the PCBU has failed to comply with the duty and further that the failure exposed an individual to a risk of death or serious injury or illness.

For a Category 3 offence, the prosecution must establish, in addition to the health and safety duty that the PCBU failed to comply with the duty.

In each case, the level of penalty in ascending order of seriousness is dependent upon whether the perpetrator is:

(a) An individual;

(b) An individual, either as a PCBU or as an officer of a PCBU; and

(c) A corporation.

For Category 1 offences, levels (a) and (b) each includes a maximum penalty of five years imprisonment. Corporate maximum penalties run up to $3,000,000.00. The duty imposed on a PCBU requires that the PCBU eliminate or minimise risks to health and safety insofar as is reasonably practicable.

For a Category 1 offence, the prosecution must also prove an absence of “reasonable excuse” for the impugned conduct, i.e. the liability is not absolute.

Sections 23 (unwilled act/accident) and 24 (mistake of fact) of the Criminal Code apply to Category 1 offences, but have limited, if any, application to Category 2 and Category 3 offences (s.33A).

Strict Liability

Of the above offence creating provisions, s.31 is clearly not one involving strict liability. Firstly, liability is limited by the words “without reasonable excuse” and by the requirement of recklessness. Further, liability is potentially limited by the possible application of ss.23 and 24 of the Criminal Code (see s.33A of the Act).

On the other hand, once a duty is established, the Category 2 and Category 3 offences seem to me to be fairly clearly strict liability provisions.

This also highlights the major structural change in the offences as compared to the repealed Act.

Under that Act there was an underlying offence, which was aggravated if identified consequences occurred.

The Category 1, 2 and 3 offences are not concerned with consequences, but with exposure to risk. Each is a discrete offence. The penalty levels are not dependent on circumstances of aggravation, but on the category of offence and the classification of the offender. workplace_01.jpg

Health And Safety Duties

Section 19 of the Act identifies the primary duty of care which is to ensure the health and safety of workers engaged by, or whose activities are influenced, by a PCBU, and the health and safety of others whose health and safety may be affected by the conduct of the business or undertaking insofar as is reasonably practicable.

Other duty creating provisions (ss. 20 – 26) relate to PCBUs conducting specific undertakings and are also defined in terms of “reasonable practicability”.

Section 27, which establishes the duty of officers of PCBUs, requires the exercise of due diligence, and s.28 and 29, which deal with the duties of workers and other persons at workplaces are drafted in terms of requiring reasonable care to be exercised by those persons.

This tends to ameliorate the hardship of the strict liability created by ss.32 and 33 by establishing duties in terms of reasonable practicability or reasonable care, but once the duty is established, strict liability applies to a breach of the duty.

On the face of the Act this creates a harsh penalty regime, especially for Category 2 offences.

To summarise, duties are cast in terms of:

(a) Ensuring, so far is reasonably practicable, health and safety (for PCBUs);

(b) Exercising due diligence to ensure PCBUs comply with their duty (for officers of PCBUs);

(c) Taking reasonable care and complying so far as they are reasonably able (for workers, and others, at workplaces).

The phrases I have underlined have been analysed by courts in some circumstances, and in some cases will develop further, with judicially identified meanings.

The phrase “so far as is reasonably practicable” was considered by the High Court in Baiada Poultry Pty Ltd v. R (2012) HCA 14. At paragraph 15 of their judgment, the plurality said of this phrase:

“All elements of the statutory description of the duty were important. The words “so far as is reasonable practicable” direct attention to the extent of the duty. The words “reasonably practicable” indicate the duty does not require the employer to take every possible step that could be taken. The steps that are to be taken in performance of the duty are those that are reasonably practicable for the employer to take to achieve the identified end of providing and maintaining a safe working environment. Bare demonstration that a step could have been taken and that, if taken, it might have had some effect on the safety of a working environment does not, without more, demonstrate that an employer has broken the duty imposed by s.21(1). The question remains whether the employer has so far as is reasonably practicable provided and maintained a safe working environment.”

At paragraph 33 the plurality said this:

“The question presented by the statutory duty "so far as is reasonably practicable" to provide and maintain a safe working environment could not be determined by reference only to Baiada having a legal right to issue instructions to its subcontractors. Showing that Baiada had the legal right to issue instructions showed only that it was possible for Baiada to take that step. It did not show that this was a step that was reasonably practicable to achieve the relevant result of providing and maintaining a safe working environment. That question required consideration not only of what steps Baiada could have taken to secure compliance but also, and critically, whether Baiada's obligation "so far as is reasonably practicable" to provide and maintain a safe working environment obliged it: (a) to give safety instructions to its (apparently skilled and experienced) subcontractors; (b) to check whether its instructions were followed; (c) to take some step to require compliance with its instructions; or (d) to do some combination of these things or even something altogether different. These were questions which the jury would have had to decide in light of all of the evidence that had been given at trial about how the work of catching, caging, loading and transporting the chickens was done.”

As to the requirement to exercise “due diligence” imposed upon officers, in ASIC v Healey and ors. 278 ALR 618 at para 165, Middleton J (in the Federal Court) said at page 180, dealing with entirely different legislation:

“In determining whether a director has exercised reasonable care and diligence, as s.180(1) expressly contemplates, the circumstances of the particular corporation concerned are relevant to the content of the duty. These circumstances include: the type of company, the provisions of its constitution, the size and nature of the company’s business … and the circumstances of the specific case.”

Whilst the issues to be looked at in the context of a Workplace Health and Safety prosecution will be different from the specific issues to be considered in Healey, it indicates the way a Court is likely to regard this issue. At paragraph 180 his Honour said:

“Section 180 requires that a director exercise due care and diligence. Making a mistake does not demonstrate that due care and diligence was wanting. The standard required of professionals, and directors, is a reasonable care and skill and does not require perfection.”

Finally, it should be said that the issues are of course questions of fact with the answers to whether or not the conduct fits the requirements varied according to the circumstances of the particular case.


Section 668D of the Criminal Code permits an appeal to the Court of Appeal against a conviction or sentence for an indictable offence (Category 1 offences). Otherwise, an appeal lies to a judge of the District Court, and then on matters of law to the Court of Appeal, for Category 2 and Category 3 offences. This is a significant change from the previous appellate structure, which permitted an appeal as of right only to the Industrial Court, and then Judicial review if jurisdictional error could be established (Kirk v. IRCNSW)1.

This short analysis of the offence-creating and appellate provisions shows that there have been substantial changes to the way such matters are to be litigated, many of which are to my mind positive.

Firstly, and most importantly, the legislature has done away with an offence structure which permitted the prosecution to simply prove an obligation, prove an incident (most prosecutions follow death or injury) and then in effect challenge the defendant to prove one of the narrow defences available pursuant to s.37 of the repealed Act, of operating within the regulatory framework, or that the commission of the offence was due to causes over which the defendant had no control. Proof of either, especially the first, was particularly difficult.

Now it will be necessary for the prosecution to prove the elements of the offence including, for a Category 1 offence, that the defendant engaged in the impugned conduct without reasonable excuse, and prove that ss. 23 and 24 of the Criminal Code, if raised on the evidence, have no application, if raised on the evidence.

The new provisions, it will be seen, are more focused on punishment of conduct, rather than consequence, although I expect that prosecutions will nonetheless continue to follow largely upon serious incidents.

The new structure brings about what, to my mind, is the desirable outcome of bringing these offences into the mainstream of the criminal justice system, and away from the industrial system. Appeals will be either direct to the Court of Appeal (Category 1 offences) or to a judge of the District Court (Category 2 and Category 3 offences). This gets away from the difficulties of the “specialist tribunal” referred to in both judgments of the High Court in Kirk2 .


It is to be hoped that this will lead to a more open approach by the prosecution to their task – in particular to provide proper particularisation of offences, which will in turn lead to fewer pre-trial applications which currently need to be brought in almost every case. Most of us thought that the proper particularisation of charges would always be required by courts after the decision in Kirk.

Since the decision of the High Court in Kirk3 and more recently of that Court in Patel4, the need to request and to obtain particulars in criminal trials has been highlighted for practitioners. In my view, the effect of the decision in Kirk has been narrowed down by decisions of the Industrial Court and the Supreme Court in the matter of Collins5,6 and 7.

However, we may see some significant change in the light of:

(a) The change in the jurisdiction in which these matters are litigated; and

(b) The effect of the decision of the High Court in Patel which has again emphasised the importance of both seeking and being given detailed particulars of any charge.

Investigative Powers

The heavy penalties contemplated by the Act are supported by strong powers granted to investigators. In addition to the usual powers to issue improvement notices and prohibition notices, the regulator and inspectors have wide powers to investigate suspected breaches of the Act:

(a) Powers of entry (without a warrant) to premises that are, or are reasonably suspected of being, a workplace. These powers are set out at ss.163 to 166;

(b) Pursuant to search warrant, an inspector may enter premises for the purposes of obtaining evidence within a specified time – see ss.167, 168 and 169;

(c) Significant powers are granted upon entry (see ss.171 to 181). It includes a power in certain circumstances to require the provision of name and residential address (see s.185).

What should be noted about these powers in particular is that pursuant to s.172 privilege against self-incrimination is abrogated. However, there are severe limitations placed upon the admissibility of evidence obtained pursuant to s.172. Pursuant however to s.269, legal professional privilege is specifically retained.

A particularly important section in this regard, at least for the first couple of years of the Act’s operation, is s.282. This is a transitional provision for investigative powers and is far from clear in its application. From my brief experience of the Act, it would appear that different inspectors have different interpretations of how the Act applies to their exercise of power.

My view of the provision is that s.282 means that the investigative powers which may be utilised in conducting investigations into offences said to have occurred under the repealed legislation are limited to the powers that existed under that legislation. The somewhat greater powers, (for example, s.172,) in my view do not apply to investigations of offences said to have occurred under the repealed legislation. However, I am unaware of any decision made by any Court on this issue. I certainly accept that a contrary view may prevail.

These investigative powers are further supported by obligations on PCBUs to immediately notify the Regulator of a notifiable incident (see ss. 35 – 39).

The person with management or control of a workplace, at which a notifiable incident has occurred, must ensure non disturbance of the site until an inspector arrives or directs otherwise.

Own Investigation

A most difficult issue confronting those with responsibility for workplaces is whether to conduct an investigation of a notifiable incident. In addition to the expense of such an investigation, the person runs the risk that the incident investigation report will be used against them. On the other hand, one hesitates to suggest that people shouldn’t carry out investigations as this will often help to prevent any further occurrence of notifiable incidents and may be necessary in some circumstances to fulfil one’s duties under the Act. It is of course relevant on prosecution, and in particular on punishment, workplace_02.jpgthat a PCBU has made enquiries and made changes to overcome a set of circumstances that created an exposure to risk. The best approach is, if a report is to be obtained to do so for the purpose of seeking advice from a lawyer as to rights and prospects and to have the report commissioned by the lawyer. In this way it’s likely to be protected by legal professional privilege.

Defending allegations of failure to ensure workplace health and safety usually relies upon the evidence of relevant experts, properly briefed as to the circumstances of the notifiable incident. Always remember however, that whatever is given to an expert in commissioning a report, will of necessity, be required to be given to the prosecution if you wish to rely upon the report and if the report puts any reliance on the material.

Identifying and defending “failures”

1. The first thing to ask is whether the prosecution is under the current Act or under the repealed legislation.

2. It is necessary to identify whether the offence charged is to be heard on indictment or summarily.

3. The next matter is to consider an approach to obtain the particulars upon which the prosecution rely in bringing the allegation. However, there will be times when such an approach is not wise.

4. When you have particulars you will then need to look at the evidence, both for the prosecution side, and from the point of view of the defence, that is available to support or negative the issues raised by the particulars. It is here that a significantly different approach is possible to defending prosecutions under the Act as against prosecutions under the repealed legislation. It is now possible to properly defend the allegations without calling evidence. Under the repealed legislation it was almost impossible to do so – I can’t think of a single case where that was a serious consideration. Circumstances may require the calling of evidence in prosecutions under the Act, but it will not be as often as was previously the case. It is a matter that needs to be considered very carefully because it affects the order of addresses which, particularly in jury cases, is an important matter.

Joinder of Charges

It is interesting to note that the old joinder provisions have been substantially changed. Section 164(2) of the repealed Act provided:

(2) More than 1 contravention of a workplace health and safety obligation under part 3 may be charged as a single charge if the acts or omissions giving rise to the claimed contravention happened within the same period and at the same workplace.

Section 233(1) of the Act provides:

“1. Two or more contraventions of a health and safety duty provision by a person that arise out of the same factual circumstances may be charged as a single offence or as separate offences.

2. This section does not authorise contraventions of two or more safety duty provisions to be charged as a single offence."

In my view, s,164(2) did not authorise the charging of multiple breaches in a single count, but in separate counts in the one complaint (see s.43 and s.4 (definition of complaint) of the Justices Act). However, the new provision seems to authorise the charging of multiple breaches of the same duty in a single charge, if they arose out of the same factual circumstance. This is a narrower basis than s.164(2), but more clearly brings about the result that prosecutors claim s.164(2) brought about. However, the new legislation does not authorise the charging of breaches of multiple duties as a single count, which is a practice which now seems sometimes to be followed, although in my view, incorrectly. Neither authorises the charging of more than one person in a single count.

Time Limits

Time limits have, by and large, been significantly extended and there should in future be a reduction in litigation concerning the application of time limits. They should, however, be strictly enforced by the Courts, given their significant extension.

The effect of the new type of limitation based on coronial findings, means that prosecutions may now be brought many years after an event. It means that in cases where a death occurs in a workplace, it will be important for a PCBU to be represented at a coronial inquest, particularly if workplace health and safety charges have not been brought, or have not been finalised. The exact effect of the coronial extension is yet to be considered by a Court, although a similar extension was recently added to the repealed legislation, and has been added to other regulatory offence regimes.

However, a significant change is that the proceedings may be brought only by the regulator, or an inspector authorised in writing by the regulator. Thus, significantly, timeframes are fixed in terms of when a matter comes to the attention of the regulator rather than to the particular complainant for a charge.

Category 1 Offences

These represent a new chapter in workplace health and safety enforcement in Queensland.

Category 1 offences are to be prosecuted on indictment – see ss. 1, 3 and 560 of the Criminal Code.

Generally speaking, committal proceedings (such as they are in Queensland) are required, although in a very truncated form, since the so called “Moynihan Reforms”. Section 560 of the Criminal Code makes it plain that the conduct of the prosecution of these offences will be under the control of the Director of Public Prosecutions. In the absence of other provisions for the Court of trial, it seems likely that the matters will be tried in the District Court.

A number of provisions of the Criminal Code will have a significant effect on the conduct of these matters:

1. Section 590 requires the presentation of an indictment no later than six months after the date on which the person was committed for trial. Although s.590 also provides for circumstances in which the prosecution may overcome a failure to do that, this is nonetheless a significant control upon delay in bringing these prosecutions and is treated very seriously by the Courts.

2. Section 590AA provides for pre-trial directions and rulings.

3. Section 590AAA to 590AX provides for, and controls, prosecution disclosure obligations;

4. Section 590B to G identifies the disclosure obligations of those in control of the defence of a matter in the Supreme and District Courts;

5. Section 594A makes provision for the appearance and plea by a corporation;

6. Section 604 makes provision for the trial of these matters by a jury, subject always of course to an application pursuant to s.614 for an order that a trial be heard by a judge sitting alone. This is a matter which, in workplace health and safety prosecutions should not be ignored, as issues of prejudice may arise in respect of defendants in these types of proceedings;

7. Joinder of these offences will be controlled by s.567 and s.568 of the Criminal Code rather than s.233 of the Act.

Category 2 and 3 Offences

Section 230 of the Act requires that proceedings for an offence against the Act, other than a Category 1 offence, must be taken in a summary way under the Justices Act. For this reason it seems to be impossible both to indict a Category 1 offence and charge a Category 2 or Category 3 offence, in the alternative, on that indictment.

Section 233 of the Act might, at first glance, suggest that there could be such a joinder, but in my view, given the very specific directions in s.230(1AA), this doesn’t seem to be an appropriate interpretation of s.233.

Sentencing for Offences

Courts have been given significantly broader powers on sentencing offenders (see ss.234 to 242 of the Act). These powers may be used to impose other orders on offenders over and above the penalty in s.31 to 33). Some of them may have serious consequences for defendants, both in terms of cost and in terms of other consequences (e.g. adverse publicity).

Adverse publicity orders (s.236) are capable of being broad and onerous and may, in some cases, be quite expensive to comply with.

Restoration orders (s.238) seem to be more applicable to other types of offences e.g. breaches of the Environmental Protection Act.

Workplace Health and Safety project orders (s.238) may require an offender to undertake a stated project for the general improvement in work health and safety within a period stated in the Order. The extent of this provision will only be known after it has been litigated. I am unsure from a reading of the provision as to whether such orders would be limited to an improvement in work health and safety within an offender’s environment or whether they could be of more general application. They have the potential to be very financially burdensome if applied more widely.

Section 239 provides for a form of workplace, health and safety bond – my expectation is that this will only be used for offences at the minor end of the scale.

With the exception of the last matter, none of these orders is going to reduce the burden on an offender, although I think it will be open to argue that a penalty should be looked at globally, and the level of punishment across all orders should be appropriate to the offender’s conduct, so that a lesser fine might be imposed where there are other orders to be made. However, s.235 makes it plain that such orders may be made in addition to a fine or term of imprisonment imposed.

Prosecution of Category 1 offences

My expectation is that there will be few Category 1 charges brought:

(a) There should be few matters that qualify, as the evidentiary hurdle for the prosecution is a high one;

(b) Workplace health and safety will not want to lose control of their cases which they will do, if the Director of Public Prosecutions takes it over, as he will, if it is to be prosecuted on indictment.

Relationship with other safety statutes

(a) Mining Safety and related matters – Coal Mining Safety and Health Act –

Mining and Quarrying Safety Health Act – Petroleum and Gas (Production and Safety) Act – Geothermal Exploration Act – Greenhouse Gas Storage Act – Petroleum Act.

This topic is dealt with in Schedule 1 of the new legislation. It deals with a number of topics, including mining related matters, electrical safety, transport rail safety and recreational water activities. What I suggest is that whenever you are looking at an incident you check whether the Workplace Health and Safety Act is excluded, or limited, in its operation by another statute, by going to Schedule 1. An example of the types of limitations and exclusions that can arise are to be found in the Mining Safety and Related Acts.

The Workplace Health and Safety Act does not apply to mines or facilities to which the above acts apply, except for Regulations relating to hazardous chemicals or major hazard facilities.

(b) The Electrical Safety Actworkplace_03.jpg

There have long been issues about which Act applies in circumstances where there is an incident involving the supply of electricity. This was usually dealt with by a protocol between the two authorities which exercise powers under those Acts. The Schedule will now control that issue.

Pandora’s Box

Section 231 is an unusual and concerning provision. I will set it out in full

231 Procedure if prosecution is not brought

(1) If—

(a) a person reasonably considers that an act or omission constitutes a category 1 offence or a category 2 offence; and

(b) no prosecution has been brought in relation to the act or omission after 6 months but not later than 12 months after the act or omission happens;

the person may make a written request to the regulator that a prosecution be brought.

(2) Within 3 months after the regulator receives a request the regulator must—

(a) advise the person, in writing—

(i) whether the investigation is complete; and

(ii) if the investigation is complete, whether a prosecution has been or will be brought or give  reasons why a prosecution will not be brought; and

(b) advise the person who the applicant believes committed the offence of the application and of the matters set out in paragraph (a).

(3) If the regulator advises the person that a prosecution for a category 1 or category 2 offence will not be brought, the regulator must—

(a) advise the person that the person may ask the regulator to refer the matter to the director of public prosecutions for consideration; and

(b) if the person makes a written request to the regulator to do so, refer the matter to the director of public prosecutions within 1 month of the request.

(4) The director of public prosecutions must consider the matter and advise (in writing) the regulator within 1 month as to whether the director considers that a prosecution should be brought.

(5) The regulator must ensure a copy of the advice is given to—

(a) the person who made the request; and

(b) the person who the applicant believes committed the offence.

(6) If the regulator declines to follow the advice of the director of public prosecutions to bring proceedings, the regulator must give written reasons for the decision to any person to whom a copy of the advice is given under subsection (5).

What this provision appears to permit is a person (unlimited in any way) who considers that a Category 1 or Category 2 offence has been committed in some location (otherwise unlimited) and where no prosecution has been brought within six months (and not later than twelve months) after the alleged contravention, that person may request the regulator to bring a prosecution. Within three months the regulator must advise the person making the request whether the investigation is complete and, if it is, whether a prosecution will be brought, or give reasons why it will not, and advise the suspect of the application and provide him/her with the same information. If the regulator’s position is that a prosecution will not be brought, he must tell the requestor that he/she may ask the regulator to refer the matter to the DPP and if such a request is made the regulator must refer it within one month. Within a further month (I’m sure the Director will be delighted about that) the Director must consider the matter and advise whether he/she considers that the prosecution should be brought. The regulator then must give a copy of that advice to both the requestor and the suspect, and if the regulator declines to follow the advice of the Director to bring proceedings, he/she must give written reasons for the decision to any person to whom a copy of the advice is given under ss.5. If Lewis Carroll hadn’t written “Alice in Wonderland”, this provision would have sufficed. It is open to unlimited abuse. One or more obsessive people, or people with an agenda, could bring the regulator’s office to a halt and swamp the DPP with short turn around requirements for advice. To describe it as ridiculous is an understatement. However, forms have already been gazetted for use under this provision. Although it is referred to in the introductory passages of the explanatory notes to the Bill and in the body of those notes, there is no explanation of the need for such a provision, nor any suggestion as to how its abuse is to be controlled.


The new legislation brings about significant changes in the enforcement of workplace health and safety legislation. To some extent the full effect of those changes will depend on the course chosen by those who prosecute. It will be an interesting journey, although a potentially painful one for some defendants.

A. J. Glynn S.C.



1. (1) 2010 239 CLR 531

2. Ibid

3. Ibid

4. Patel v The Queen [2012] HCA 29

5. N. K. Collins Industries Pty Ltd v Twigg C/2009/56

6. N.K. Collins Industries Pty Ltd v President of the Industrial Court of Queensland [2010] QSC 373

7. N.K. Collins Industries Pty Ltd v President of the Industrial Court of Queensland [2012] QSC 147

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