3 Essential Steps for WHS Due Diligence Compliance

April 2015

As we move through another month we thought it was timely re revisited the “3 Essential Steps for WHS Due Diligence Compliance”, or the three “must haves” for business survival.

There are three steps organizations and businesses need to take to assist their officers in complying with their work health and safety (WHS) due diligence duties, according to a leading OHS Lawyer.

Under WHS laws, officers are REQUIRED to exercise due diligence to ensure their organization or business is complying with its obligations under the laws, and this due diligence obligation is a personal duty imposed on officers.

Officers are required to take both personal and proactive steps to demonstrate compliance with their duty!

There is nothing new about this statement, as I am sure you are all well aware of what we are required to do, but there is evidence that officers will to some extent “rely” on their organization or business model to have certain systems and processes in place so they can comply with their due diligence obligation.

SO!

There are three steps the businesses need to take to ensure this responsibility is fulfilled.

Step.1.

Establish a due diligence framework and safety management system. This needs to have a corporate governance framework in place which sets out how officers will comply with their due diligence obligations, and the organizational systems and processes in place to assist officers in meeting their duties. They should also ensure that they have a legally compliant documented Safety Management System in place!

Step.2.

Establish a safety performance reporting framework. One of the specific elements of the due diligence obligations requires officers to consider incidents, hazards and risks. In order to enable officers to comply with this requirement a robust safety performance reporting framework must be evident and used to collect and assess information around incidents, hazards and risks also providing regular reports delivered. There also needs to be effective corporate governance structure and committees in place to enable a flow through of information so that is considered / discussed at all levels.

Step.3.

Conduct regular legal Compliance Audits. This is one of the more critical aspects of due diligence obligation is to requirement for officers to ensure legal compliance by their respective organization or business, according to the respected OHS lawyer Michael Tooma, partner and head of OHS and security (Asia Pacific) for Norton Rose Fulbright, Australia.

Businesses should have in place a comprehensive safety auditing program and undertake legal compliance of their safety management system and performance on an annual basis. Audits should be externally conducted and internal follow ups.

Three steps for officers to make sure they have in place! If you are unclear of what makes up some of these points noted in the steps, let us know and we can send you a “checklist” to let you revisit what is required.

I hope this has given you a refresher on your “personal obligations” that officers of the organizations or businesses face.

Remember if there is any further information you require on points raised in this newsletter just let us know.

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