• Internal Code :
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  • Subject Name : Law

Work Health and Safety Act

Issue:

  1. Whether Alice has committed the offense of industrial manslaughter?
  2. Whether Christine has committed the offense of industrial manslaughter?
  3. Whether Francis has committed the offense of industrial manslaughter?
  4. Whether any other person has committed the offense of industrial manslaughter?

Rules:

Work Health and Safety Act, 2011.

Application:

  1. Yes, Alice has committed the offense of industrial manslaughter as Alice is the owner of Balmoral Bounces Pty Ltd and is liable for any sort of casualty associated with the work of the employee during the workplace. Section 34C of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011, states about the liability of the person carrying on the business of the undertaking in cases of industrial manslaughter. In section 34C of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011, it is mentioned in the provision of the section that a person who is the owner of the company is liable under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 if a worker dies while carrying out the work for the company. As given in the question it can be determined the recklessness of Alice, business owner of Balmoral Bounces Pty Ltd, as Christine, Head of operations and warehouse manager, had informed Alice that the blowers over-inflate the bouncy castles due to which the bouncy castles start splitting. After the complaint by Christine to Alice, both of them agreed that they should look into it before it starts damaging the stock of the company. This is a very essential point which shall be considered while determining the liability of Alice as she was aware of the over-inflation of the bouncy castle due to blowers. As per section 31C of the Work Health and Safety act 2001, Alice comes under the ambit of the provisions of the said section as she was careless as to the risk associated with Eric. In the recent case[1], the corporate entity named Brisbane Auto Recycling Pty Ltd and the two directors of the Brisbane Auto Recycling Pty Ltd were held responsible and liable for the death of the worker which was caused due to reversing of the forklift by another worker. The judgment on[2] is very much significant to note as the same applies to the case given in the question. From the given question it can be inferred that the death of Eric was caused by the act of another worker Francis, who used two of the converted blowers to inflate the castle. The same facts relate to the recent case[3], as in that case[4] the worker died due to the forklift which was driven by another worker, and, also, in that case[5] the directors were held responsible. Therefore, as per the precedent as well as the provisions of section 31 and 34C of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011, Alice will be held liable for the death of his employee Eric.
  1. Yes, Christine will be liable as she has also committed the offense of industrial manslaughter. Christine is the head of operations as well as the warehouse manager. Due to this position, she can be called as the senior officer of Balmoral Bounces Pty Ltd. To prove her liability under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011, I shall take the help of section 34D of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011, in which it is mentioned that a senior officer is liable under the provisions of Section 34D of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 if an employee dies while working during the business. Eric has died while he was on the duty hours of the company, Brisbane Auto Recycling Pty Ltd. Christine by his act has also attracted the provisions of section 31 of the Work Health and Safety Act 2001, as he has committed the category 1 offense. Christine has the duty towards the health and safety of the workers and he was aware that any sort of recklessness may result in the death or serious injury to the worker as the blowing up of the castle involves risk, and, hence such recklessness mentioned above of Christine resulted in the death of Eric. It is to be noted that Christine was the person who instructed the new employee Francis to use 2 converted blowers which resulted in over-inflation of the castle. The over-inflation resulted in an explosion that eventually took away the life of Eric. Due to such instruction is given to the newly recruited employee Francis who is not much aware of the risk associated with the over inflation, Christine has also attracted provisions of section 32 of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 which states that a person will come under the ambit of category 2 offense who has a duty towards the health and safety, which Christine has failed to comply with resulting in the death of the Eric. In the case[6], the high court of Australia dismissed the appeal of the appellant based on breach of duty on the part of the appellant. In that case[7] the appellant had erected a deep water sign in the vicinity of shallow water. The plaintiff was injured as there was the ambiguity of the sign by which he believed that the water was deep and therefore safe for water skiing. This was the case of breach of duty-reasonable foreseeability, where it was observed that reasonable foreseeability makes the person liable and the reasonable foreseeability cannot be measured based on the occurrence of the risk but it can be assessed by way of analyzing that the risk is not far away. Therefore, the defendant’s appeal was rejected by the court on the ground that there was a reasonably foreseeable risk involved which resulted in the breach of duty towards the plaintiff. In the given case Christine also had a foreseeable risk involved which he breached by way of assigning the work of inflating the largest castle to a new inexperience employee, resulting in the breach of duty on the part of Christine. Therefore, Christine will be held liable as per the above discussion.
  1. In the given case, it is mentioned that the new inexperienced employee of Balmoral Bounces Pty Ltd named Francis was assigned the work of inflating the company's largest bouncy castle the mega palace. The instructions were given by Christine and as the castle was huge Christine advised Francis to use two converted blowers. Francis acted solely on the advice and instructions of Christine due to which the castle rapidly over-inflated and resulted in the explosion. It is to be noted that Francis was acting under the supervision of his senior employee who is the head of operations and warehouse manager. Acting under the instructions of senior manager Christine, and, Francis being a new inexperienced employee, inflated the company's largest bouncy castle mega palace. This act of Christine depicts the recklessness of him as such work should not be assigned to the new employee. Christine even after knowing that the castle is the largest bouncy castle appointed Francis to blow up the same. In the given case, the liability of Francis cannot arise as Christine being superior to Francis is vicariously liable for the consequences of the acts done by his subordinate Francis. In the case[8] the forklift driver driving the forklift resulted in the death of the plaintiff and still, the liability was attracted to the company as well as the directors of the company. The employee was not held responsible in that case[9]. Therefore, Francis will not be held liable for the offense of industrial man slaughtering as he was under the supervision of senior manager Christine and the instructions given to him resulted in the explosion of the castle.
  1. The corporate entity that is Balmoral Bouncers Pvt Ltd will also be made a party to the case and will be held liable. In the case[10] the corporate entity was made the party to the case and was held liable for the death of the plaintiff. The case[11] is referred here as the facts are relatable to the case given in the question as well as the case is regarding the industrial slaughtering. Hence, no other person would be held responsible for the death of Eric but the Company is a separate legal entity that will be liable.

Conclusion:

In light of the above facts, legal provisions, and case laws, it can be concluded that Alice, owner of the Balmoral Bounces Pty Ltd, has committed the offense of industrial slaughtering and will be held liable for the same. Christine being the Senior officer of Balmoral Bounces Pty Ltd will have also committed the offense of industrial slaughtering and will be held liable for the same. Francis being the new inexperienced employee acting on the instructions of a senior officer will not be liable for industrial slaughtering. Balmoral Bounces Pty Ltd will also be made a party to the case and will be held liable for industrial slaughtering.

Bibliography for Industrial Manslaughter Offense

Legislations/Acts:

Work Health and Safety Act, 2011

Case Laws:

R v Brisbane Auto Recycling Pty Ltd & Ors (2020) QDC 113

Wyong Shire Council v Shirt (1980) HCA 12; (1980) 146 CLR 40

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