PART 1: DUE DILIGENCE
The Role of an Officer, Under the WHS Act
This is part 1 of 6 informative blog articles about the role of an Officer under the WHS Act. The Act prescribes the requirement under s27(1) to exercise due diligence and further expands what this includes in s27(5)(a-f).
But first, who is an officer? – An officer is a senior executive who makes, or participates in making, decisions that affect the whole, or a substantial part, of the business or undertaking.
An organisation may therefore have many “officers” such as those who sit on a board. The due diligence obligations are designed to make sure that reasonable steps are taken to ensure that appropriate resources and processes are applied for the health and safety of workers and others affected by the business. An officer may be prosecuted for a failure to comply with due diligence obligation whether or not there has been a health or safety incident.
The first of the 6 due diligence requirements includes.
WHS Act s27(5) … reasonable steps:
(a) to acquire and keep up-to-date knowledge of work health and safety matter
WHSQ website suggests to:
- acquire up-to-date knowledge of the WHS Act, regulations and codes of practice
- investigate current industry issues through conferences, seminars, information and awareness sessions, industry groups, newsletters
- acquire up-to-date knowledge of work health and safety management principles and practices
- ensure that work health and safety matters are considered at each corporation, club or association board meeting
ASLS has a free breakfast seminar with guest presenter Aldo Raineri, speaking about this topic on the 16 March 2015.
ASLS has also presented information session to many workplaces to inform officers and workers of their roles and requirements under the WHS Act. Sessions can run from 1-8 hours depending on the outcomes requested.
WHSQ also recognises advantages in having a trained safety advisor to assist in meeting due diligence requirements recommending Vocational Education and Training (VET) accredited training, to provide them with appropriate competency levels through a nationally recognised formal qualification.
For more information:
Michelle is Training and Consultancy Coordinator at ASLS where she manages the activities of a team of safety professionals, such as auditing, safety development, safety development, training needs analysis and review of work method statements. She is also involved in the management of all training activities such as development and review of course material, and monitoring, moderation and validation of assessors and assessment activities. Her qualifications include a Bachelor of Business, Diploma of Work Health and Safety and a Post-Graduate Diploma in OHS.