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Breaches of dangerous goods legislation is on the rise

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Dangerous Goods legislative breaches results in the Dangerous Goods Amendment [Penalty Reform 2019)

Most recently the massive stockpiling of hazardous waste in Melbourne's northern suburbs followed by subsequent mysterious fires has escalated the introduction of a reactive law creating an offence for duty holders who engage in reckless conduct during the manufacture, transport or storage of dangerous goods.

This amendment came into effect on 7 November 2019. Be aware that breaches of dangerous goods legislation carries sentences of up to10 yrs imprisonment for individuals.


The Penalty Reform Bill is costly in every respect

The Dangerous Goods Amendment [Penalty Reform] Bill 2019 amended Dangerous Goods Act 1985 includes ‘reckless conduct’ with maximum penalties of $6 mill+ for organisations and/or 10 years' jail for individuals.


Other existing offences with fines have been increased for failing to:

  • comply with a directive issued by an inspector to render harmless dangerous goods or containers, disposing of or removal of spilled dangerous goods, or

  • taking all reasonable precautions for the prevention, tampering, theft, unauthorised access, fires, explosions, leakage, damage to property or public danger involving dangerous goods.

The new offence is intended to capture the most serious conduct resulting in the endangerment of life or danger of death. This also compliments the new Workplace/Industrial Manslaughter Law that comes into force on July 01, 2020 in Victoria and is already in the ACT and Queensland with many other states a in transition.


What you need to do

Review current procedures, quantities, methods of storage and timely safe disposal or sale of dangerous goods to ensure compliance with legislation and the new amendments.

Employers, employees and PCBU officers to be informed, trained and made aware of ongoing performance in relation to:

  • The Workplace/Industrial Manslaughter and the amended Dangerous Goods laws, and

  • The storage, transport, transfer and sale of dangerous goods when the nature of the business stockpiles or otherwise holds large quantities of dangerous goods.