15 Jul Duties of Officers
Under WHS legislation an officer is a person who has the capacity to significantly affect the financial standing of the organisation, such as a company director or secretary, a “C” level executive, a senior manager or a senior advisor. The definition of officer also includes a person who makes or participates in making decisions that affect the whole (or a substantial part) of the organisation.
Officers are required to conduct due diligence, which entails:
(a) to acquire and keep up-to-date knowledge of work health and safety matters, and
(b) to gain an understanding of the nature of the operations of the business or undertaking of the person conducting the business or undertaking and generally of the hazards and risks associated with those operations, and
(c) to ensure that the person conducting the business or undertaking has available for use, and uses, appropriate resources and processes to eliminate or minimise risks to health and safety from work carried out as part of the conduct of the business or undertaking, and
(d) to ensure that the person conducting the business or undertaking has appropriate processes for receiving and considering information regarding incidents, hazards and risks and responding in a timely way to that information, and
(e) to ensure that the person conducting the business or undertaking has, and implements, processes for complying with any duty or obligation of the person conducting the business or undertaking under this Act, and
(f) to verify the provision and use of the resources and processes referred to in paragraphs (c)-(e).
A number of recent prosecutions of officers in jurisdictions across Australia have highlighted the need to train officers in conducting due diligence. Don’t leave your business at risk, have your staff trained appropriately for their needs and duties.