Duty not to recklessly endanger

Section 32 Duty not to recklessly endanger persons at workplaces.

This is a new offence under the 2004 OHS Act, and applies to everyone - an employer, a worker, a designer, manufacturer, supplier or installer, even a member of the public. It is an offence, with the potential penalty of not only a fine, but also a term of imprisonment of up to 5 years, to recklessly place another person at a workplace in danger of serious injury.  Section 32 states:

'A person who, without lawful excuse' recklessly engages in conduct that places or may place another person who is at a workplace in danger of serious injury is guilty of an indictable offence...'

When would there be a 'lawful excuse' to recklessly endanger another person?  There are a number of possible examples such as in cases of fire or rescue, in breaking up public disturbances, and so on.

There is no specific information on the WorkSafe site on this section, however, the first prosecution was in April 2010, when Orbit Drilling became the first company in Victoria to be convicted for recklessly endangering a worker. 

The 2004 Act can be downloaded (in both pdf and word format) on the Victorian government legislation repository website.

Last amended September 2015

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