Criminal Manslaughter – Reverse Engineering Judicial Negligence Decisions

Engineering context

The advent of industrial manslaughter laws in workplace health and safety legislation that include provisions for criminal negligence raises profound issues for engineers as well as senior decision makers. It is now essential to demonstrate the management of the laws of nature in a way that satisfies the laws of man (in that order).

Legally, safety risk does not arise because something is inherently dangerous, rather it arises because there are insufficient, inadequate or failed precautions as determined by our courts, post event.

This webinar will demonstrate how to reverse engineer judicial decisions in ways that are useful to engineers and lawyers trying to positively demonstrate due diligence particularly in view of the criminal manslaughter provisions of the Victorian OHS Act that commenced on 1st July 2020 and in other Australian jurisdictions in due course.

By understanding how the courts make decisions, engineers with lawyers can provide superior design and maintenance advice to decision makers, be they're clients or employers.

Learning outcomes

  • The difference between statute and the common law.
  • How the criminal negligence provisions (industrial manslaughter) of the Victorian OHS Act are based on the common law duty-of-care.
  • Core concepts used by expert witnesses for common law negligence cases.
  • Understand that, to demonstrate safety due diligence, the management of the laws of nature is always logically prior to the management of the laws of man.
  • How single line threat-barrier diagrams based on legal case studies assist designers and decision makers.
  • Identify the legal loss-of-control point which legally separates precautions from mitigations.
  • As an engineer, learn how to provide decision makers with contextually sound safety-in-design advice.

Criminal Manslaughter – Reverse Engineering Judicial Negligence Decisions
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Watch on demand

This webinar was recorded and is available to watch through Engineers Australia’s new online streaming platform, EA On Demand.

1 hour

Is this course for you?

This is an advanced level webinar exploring engineering and the law covering safety due diligence, negligence, and the new criminal manslaughter provisions of WHS/OHS legislation.

It is ideal for board members and senior decision makers from engineering organisations and the technical experts advising them.

Delivered via Webinar

Designed in collaboration with our industry facilitators and education experts, EEA Webinars focus on modules from our most popular face-to-face training courses. Content has been carefully crafted to deliver targeted and achievable learning outcomes within the hour and the sessions are interactive to keep you engaged.

Webinar platform - Zoom

These sessions run through Zoom. Once you register for a webinar, you will receive the unique Zoom link 24 hours before the webinar is scheduled to begin.

We suggest that you download the Zoom Desktop Client to ensure you can fully participate in the webinar. If you view the webinar through the Zoom web browser or via a phone or tablet device you may not be able to participate in the interactive elements such as answering polling questions. 

Please read through the following information on Zoom to ensure you are prepared for the webinar:

Your facilitator for this course

This webinar is facilitated by R2A Due Diligence Engineers:

Richard Robinson BE BA MRSV FIEAust is Chairman of R2A Due Diligence Engineers.

Richard is a Fellow of Engineers Australia and an Honorary Fellow of the Australasian Marine Pilots Institute. Richard has degrees in Engineering (Monash University) and Philosophy (University of Melbourne). He is the principal author of Engineering Due Diligence (11th edition 2019) which is used as a text by a number of Australian Universities.

Richard was also a major contributor to the third revision of the Engineers Australia's safety case guideline.

Gaye Francis BE MAICD FIEAust is an experienced risk and due diligence engineer and project manager with a diverse range of project experience collected over 15 years of consulting activities with R2A.

Gaye has worked with both private and government clients across a wide range of industries including road, rail, marine, mining, aviation and water.

As a Director at R2A, Gaye is involved in all aspects of the practice and oversees the consulting stream. She shares her expertise to help organisations minimise risk and maintain compliance with the law.

Full Course Outline

  • Duty-of-care
  • Primary defences against negligence (no power or due diligence)
  • Expert witness tests: foreseeability, causation, preventability (‘but for’ test) and reasonableness
  • How the High Court of Australia (HCA) determines ‘reasonableness’