The legal response to work-related fatalities in NSW in 1984

Andrew Hopkins, Helen Easson, James Harrison

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


This article is a study of the response of the legal/regulatory system to all 129 work-related fatalities which occurred in NSW in 1984. Previous research on the response of the legal system has utilised the case study approach. This is the first time to our knowledge that the response to all work-related fatalities in one jurisdiction has been investigated. The pattern which emerges is one of great variation in the way coroners deal with such cases and fragmentation in the response of the various regulatory agencies with an interest in occupational health and safety. Indeed, more than half the fatalities under consideration were not investigated by any such agency. In not one case did the coroner suggest that there was evidence of criminal negligence by anyone concerned. The 129 cases resulted in 13 prosecutions of companies for violations of safety regulations. The study also examines the views of coroners and inspectors on factors which contributed to the fatalities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)135-155
Number of pages21
JournalAustralian & New Zealand Journal of Criminology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 1992
Externally publishedYes


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