Evidence of due diligence is one of the two defences available to a director or person concerned with the management of a corporation if charged with an offence under the Occupational Health and Safety Act.
Most importantly, due diligence is a powerful and proactive management tool that can help foster the careful and systematic identification and assessment of specific workplace hazards and the establishment of control measures to prevent costly injuries and illnesses at work.
2. What is required?
The first step on the road to due diligence requires that every person in the workplace - employees, directors, managers and supervisors - understands and complies with the duties set out in the NSW Occupational Health and Safety Act 2000 and associated legislation.
Further, due diligence requires you to identify risks to safety, health and welfare in your workplace, including those risks identified in the NSW Occupational Health and Safety Act 2000 and its associated legislation. Once risks are identified, due diligence requires that you address these risks through a properly functioning and documented health and safety system.
There are a number of general measures that all employers must implement in an attempt to comply with the Act and to demonstrate due diligence. These include:
- Carrying out all duties under the Act and ensuring that your company complies with the Act and associated legislation;
- Setting up a well-documented system for identifying, reporting and responding to all actual and potential hazards in the workplace;
- Establishing safe practices, procedures and controls that are specific to the hazards in your workplace and that either meet or exceed the requirements set out in the Act;
- Providing instruction and training on an on-going basis to all employees, including supervisors and workers;
- Communicating regularly with employees about foreseeable health and safety hazards;
- Allocating adequate time and resources for the health and safety program to be established and followed by all parties in the workplace, including the occupational health and safety committee;
- Monitoring and auditing your program on a regular basis
3. How does your company measure up?
We have identified 10 key components to due diligence. These are:
- Health and safety policy and program
- Duties of employers and others
- Occupational health and safety committee
- Hazard identification, assessment and control
- Instruction and training
- Human resources
- Notification of accidents and WorkCover Infringement Notices
- Auditing and review