Due Diligence in Occupational Health and Safety
Under Section 8 of the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2000 (OHS), all employers have a duty of care to their employees. The most effective way of meeting this duty of care is to integrate health and safety concerns into your planning and implementation strategies. All employers are required to take ‘due diligence’ in the workplace. At its most basic, that simply means that you take care.
Evidence of due diligence is one of the two defences available to a director or person concerned with the management of a corporation who has been charged with an offence pertaining to OHS (the other is being able to demonstrate that they were not in a position to influence the conduct of the corporation in relation to the problem).
WorkCover recommends assessing the following 10 elements to determine your ability to demonstrate due diligence:
- Health and safety policy and program
- Duties of employers and others
- Occupational health and safety committees
- Hazard identification, assessment and control
- Instruction and training
- Human resources
- Notification of accidents and WorkCover infringement notices
- Auditing and review
If you analyse these components thoroughly to examine whether you are demonstrating a duty of care that is reasonably practicable, you will find a number of benefits for your effort. These include reduced incidences of work-related injuries and illnesses, reduced lost-time, reduced workers compensation costs, increased productivity and improved quality. It makes good business sense to take all reasonable care to protect the health, safety and welfare of your employees – and it’s required of you by law.
If you’re unsure of your OHS requirements and obligations, or need any legal advice, please don’t hesitate to make an online enquiry or call us 1800 QUINNS.