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Publishing policy

Prosecution outcomes and other enforcement information

The Office of Industrial Relations publishes information about enforceable undertakings, and historical information about prosecutions prior to the establishment of the Office of the Work Health and Safety Prosecutor (OWHSP) on 18 March 2019.

The OWHSP is the independent prosecution office, established by the Queensland Parliament under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 to conduct and defend proceedings for breaches of Queensland’s work health and safety laws.

Publishing prosecution-related information and enforceable undertakings encourages compliance with Queensland's work health and safety and electrical safety laws by:

  • educating duty holders and the community about the consequences of non-compliance
  • identifying the need for real and sustainable improvement in safety practices in Queensland workplaces to reduce the toll from work-related death, injury and illness
  • increasing awareness of the need to protect individuals, families and the community from deaths, injuries and property loss caused by electricity and workplace incidents
  • providing information about how to prevent similar breaches.

For information on prosecutions conducted by the OWHSP commencing 18 March 2019, visit owhsp.qld.gov.au.

Publishing principles

We endeavour to ensure that all published information is accurate, impartial and balanced, and encourages compliance with Queensland's work health and safety and electrical safety laws.

Publishing methods

We publicise enforceable undertakings via:

  • our website
  • media statements (we issue media releases and respond to media enquiries, including on occasion granting media interviews to print, broadcast and online media outlets)
  • conferences and public forums (our representatives participate in public forums, such as safety conferences, disseminate information and statistics on prosecutions and enforceable undertakings)
  • publications (we publish a wide variety of printed publications or printable versions of online publications which contain information on prosecutions and enforceable undertakings)
  • research (we collect and publish data and statistics on notices issued, fines imposed, successful prosecutions and accepted enforceable undertakings).

Prosecution-related information was also historically published via these methods. For information on prosecutions conducted by the OWHSP since its commencement on 18 March 2019, visit owhsp.qld.gov.au.

Approach to public comment and publishing of information

Investigations

If requested, we will confirm the start of an investigation to clarify factual and procedural matters and to avoid speculation in the media.

Generally, we will not comment on the specifics of an ongoing investigation.

To protect the privacy of people involved in workplace incidents involving safety issues, no personal identifying information is released publicly except as part of a legal proceeding.

Comment on court proceedings prior to their resolution will generally only be made in relation to particular steps in the court process.

We will also, from time to time as it deems appropriate, publish relevant information such as industry alerts on urgent safety issues.

Prosecution and trial

As Prosecutions are conducted by the OWHSP commencing 18 March 2019, Workplace Health and Safety Queensland (WHSQ) no longer publishes information on the issuing of charges, the start of prosecution proceedings, or trials prior to their finalisation.

Penalties imposed

Queensland's work health and safety and electrical safety laws give the courts considerable scope to punish offenders and to deter others, including imprisonment for some offences.

We publish the maximum penalties presently available to the courts under the:

We will not comment on penalties imposed in specific cases by magistrates in proceedings heard before the Industrial Magistrates Court or the Queensland Industrial Court.

However, we will continue seeking to raise the courts' awareness of the gravity of safety and industrial relations offences and of the full extent of their sentencing powers, while recognising that it is for the courts to decide whether or not someone is guilty and what penalty if any to impose on conviction.

Public register of enforceable undertakings

All applications for enforceable undertakings in lieu of prosecution accepted by us will be published on our website and listed in our annual report. For information on prosecutions for work health and safety and electrical safety breaches that result in a successful conviction visit owhsp.qld.gov.au.

What information is published on the register and for how long?

Historically, WHSQ prosecuted companies and individuals for breaches of work health and safety and electrical safety laws. Identifying details of both companies and individuals who are defendants in matters prior to the commencement of the OWHSP on 18 March 2019 are published on this website.

Where there is a successful prosecution but an order is made that no conviction is to be recorded, we have removed information from the court summary to avoid breach of the court's order and infringement of section 12 of the Penalties and Sentences Act 1992 (the Penalties Act).

Historical cases will appear on the website for five years and will then be removed and archived . Cases against individuals under the age of 18 will appear on the website but will not include identifying details.

What information is not published on the register?

Examples of information that may not be published includes information about:

  • breaches which did not lead to a court case and were dealt with using other enforcement options, including infringement, improvement and prohibition notices. However, public comment may be made if it is deemed to be in the public interest
  • unsuccessful cases, where the court decided we had not proven our case and ruled in favour of the defendant
  • cases where a conviction was overturned on appeal.

Enforceable undertakings

Enforceable undertakings are made public through our website and through advertising in relevant newspapers. Accepted enforceable undertakings will appear on the website for five years.Some information may not be published including information that:

  • is considered to be personal
  • may be commercial in confidence
  • should not be disclosed because its release would be contrary to the public interest
  • is deemed to carry legal professional privilege.

The copy of the enforceable undertaking published to the website will include the reason for certain information being deleted.

We may also choose to issue a media release when an enforceable undertaking is accepted.

Obtaining more details

Find more information about accessing departmental information.

Complaints about published information

We have a formal complaint management policy and process in place to ensure that complaints are addressed appropriately. The policy aims to promote public confidence in the department by ensuring openness and transparency in handling complaints about its services and/or products.

Privacy

Prosecutions outcomes and details of enforceable undertakings are published in accordance with our privacy plan.

Last updated
06 April 2020

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