Proactive v Reactive Security

We are sometimes fast to name out office well being and security breaches which have resulted in prosecution or are prone to lead to prosecution, such because the Dreamworld tragedy that occurred on the finish of 2016.

Reporting on case legislation is a manner of teaching the group concerning the expectation of preserving individuals wholesome and protected. We are able to study so much from analysing instances heard earlier than the courtroom as they set priority. On the similar time, it’s simply as necessary to study from instances the place it has been decided {that a} obligation holder, resembling a Director as an officer underneath well being and security legislation has carried out their due diligence.


For executives, the current case Safework NSW v Omega Worldwide and Shetty [2016] NSWDC 11 highlights the significance of taking a proactive method to well being and security. The incident concerned a hearth in a office that was began when a employee didn’t adjust to the corporate’s protected techniques of labor.


The NSW District Courtroom dismissed SafeWork NSW’s declare that the director needs to be discovered vicariously responsible for the employee’s failure to comply with directions, as a result of the corporate didn’t assess and take away the dangers arising from its operations. The courtroom decided that the corporate’s failures “weren’t of a scientific nature”, quite, it was a results of the employees conduct not accepted by the techniques of Omega Worldwide.


The Director prevented legal responsibility and prosecution because the courtroom discovered he had exercised due diligence. Initiated by the director, the corporate had


  • employed an industrial chemist with 30 years’ expertise within the paint manufacturing business to help in managing WHS danger;
  • engaged a advisor to organize hazard evaluation;
  • applied a security administration system and a security guide; these paperwork prescribed working procedures for liquid transfers, together with the obligatory attachment of static leads between host and recipient vessels;
  • supplied staff with intensive coaching on the hazards of ignition sources, and employed one other chemist who developed a danger evaluation course of for various work procedures together with decanting.


This can be a nice instance of a Administrators’ due diligence in pressure. Nonetheless, there are numerous Administrators/senior leaders who’re unaware that they maintain such obligations.


If you’re a senior govt who makes, or participates in making, selections that have an effect on the entire, or a considerable a part of the enterprise or enterprise, then you might be an officer and maintain work well being and security due diligence obligations.


So, the subsequent query is, what do you could do to fulfill due diligence?


If we take the definition from the dictionary, due diligence means the care {that a} affordable individual workout routines to keep away from hurt to different individuals or their property. In quite simple phrases, we are able to say that due diligence is a course of that includes:

  • doing analysis on a subject;
  • considering issues via;
  • making selections primarily based on the outcomes of your analysis;
  • planning forward

Now if we take due diligence and put it within the context of labor well being and security, the identical that means applies, nevertheless in work well being and security laws there is a little more oomph in its definition:

At a minimal, an officer should take affordable steps to:

  1. purchase and maintain up-to-date data of labor well being and security issues
  2. achieve an understanding of the character of the operations of the individual conducting a enterprise or enterprise (PCBU) and usually of the hazards and dangers related to these operations
  3. guarantee that the PCBU has out there to be used, and makes use of, acceptable assets and processes to get rid of or minimise dangers to well being and security from work carried out as a part of the enterprise or enterprise
  4. guarantee that the PCBU has acceptable assets for receiving and contemplating info concerning incidents, hazards and dangers and responding in a well timed approach to that info
  5. guarantee that the PCBU has in place and implements processes for complying with any obligation or obligation of the PCBU underneath the Work Well being and Security Act, and
  6. confirm the supply and use of the assets and processes referred to in paragraphs c to e above.

(Mannequin Work Well being and Security Act, 2011)

Primarily, as an officer (a person obligation holder), it is very important take affordable steps to make sure that the enterprise makes use of and applies acceptable assets, insurance policies, procedures and well being and security practices. The due diligence obligation recognises that the behaviour and selections of Officers of a PCBU:

  1. decide whether or not the PCBU complies with its work well being and security duties, and
  2. strongly affect the well being and security tradition of companies and undertakings



Key to getting well being and security proper is to take a proactive method;

  • Preserve abreast of well being and security laws, requirements and guides related to your enterprise;
  • Achieve perception into your operational actions and the dangers they current to staff and others;
  • Set up quick and long-term technique for managing well being and security within the office;
  • Repeatedly contain your workforce within the planning and implementation of protected techniques of labor; and
  • Monitor the effectiveness of the well being and security administration system


Naturally your method, processes and practices must be documented, reviewed to a steady enchancment course of, and reported.


WorkPro additionally affords a free ‘Officers Due Diligence’ studying module. Contact WorkPro to reap the benefits of this chance.

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