OHS Due Diligence and Training
Managing safety in a business is the right thing to do, it reduces down time, protects workers, is good for internal communications, great for external PR and provides evidence of being a good corporate citizen.
The WHS Act requires that all responsible PCBU’s (persons conducting a business or undertaking) exercise due diligence by positively demonstrating a duty of care. This means the Act is specifically targeting corporate governance, that is Directors and Senior Managers.
Due diligence is all about precautions and when considering precautionary effort, the Act requires that organisations ensure that the highest level of precaution, as is reasonably practicable is in place. Can you say for certain in your business that this is the case?
The Australian government has provided the following definition in “Guidance for Officers in Exercising Due Diligence” under the WHS act:
Due diligence – in the context of work health and safety – means taking every precaution that is reasonable in the circumstances to protect the health, safety and welfare of all workers and others who could be put at risk from work carried out as part of the business or undertaking.
The point of the paradigm shift in the WHS Act is to ensure that all reasonable practicable precautions (SFAIRP) are in place rather than to achieve an indefensible tolerable or acceptable level of risk or safety, which is a typical result of the hazard based (ALARP) approach.
Consider this - What information does the executive get that proves the effectiveness of safety management? How do they check the validity of this information?
Let us discuss your current approach and assess your current due diligence thinking
A Due Diligence Guide
To meet due diligence, an ‘Officer’ must:
Gain an understanding of the nature of the company’s operation and the risks and hazards of the operation/s.
Ensure the company has adequate resources and processes in place to enable hazards to be identified, and the associated risks to be eliminated, or minimised.
Ensure the company has appropriate processes in place to receive and consider information in relation to incidents, hazards and risks and responds to that information in a timely and auditable fashion.
Ensure the company has, and implements, processes for complying with any duty or obligation
Has the ability to transparently verify the provision and use of the resources and processes.
A Practical Due Diligence Checklist (the beginning)
Formally identify ‘Officers’
Educate Officers of their responsibilities and outline the company’s processes, systems and resources.
Determine the company’s position on health and safety, including an audit.
Establish and implement objectives and targets based on audit outcomes.
Establish quantifiable health and safety performance indictors
Develop a health and safety management plan
Implement a risk management program
Commit to conducting regular reviews of the system
Ensure that the system is transparent, audit-able and regularly reviewed for improvement.