A coroner has warned that industrial manslaughter laws will increase "defensive litigious strategies", but recommended a review that could shift the focus of WHS management from risk assessment to mandatory rules.
Three major government employers face WHS fines of up to a total of $7.55 million, after a worker died in a freezer and a high school student disappeared on a camp exercise. Meanwhile, a WHS regulator has unsuccessfully appealed against a 40 per cent fine reduction.
A court erred in law in handing a record high, fatality-related WHS fine to a BHP subsidiary, but the penalty appears likely to be maintained, with BHP not complaining about its severity, and the matter being remitted to a judge with jurisdiction to impose high fines.
The High Court has partly upheld a James Hardie company's appeal against an economic-loss ruling in favour of one of its many asbestos victims, in a case involving an Australian-first punitive damages payment.
In an unusual case, two related PCBUs have been fined a total of $210,000 over a teenage apprentice's death, but entered enforceable undertakings in lieu of prosecution for one of the particulars of the offence.