As you know, being compliant with WHS legislation provides many benefits to a workplace.
Obviously, if a workplace is not compliant with WHS legislation, then negative effects are liable to appear. Negatives such as prosecution and fines, harmful publicity, injured workers, fatalities, disabled workers, lower worker morale, lost production time and rising workers compensation cost.
WHS compliance is particularly important for a PCBU and its officers because under the WHS Act:
A PCBU has the primary duty of care for workers and others, and must eliminate, or minimise so far as reasonably practicable, risks to health and safety
An Officer must exercise due diligence to ensure that the PCBU complies with any duty or obligation they have under the WHS Act.
But PCBUs and Officers are not always in the workplace where the action is. An effective way of dealing with this is for a PCBU or Officer to obtain a review of the state of WHS compliance in their workplace at regular intervals.
The importance of reviews and the standard of due diligence was covered in a NSW case, WorkCover Authority (NSW) (Inspector Mansell) v Daly Smith Corporation (Aust) Pty Ltd and Smith, where it was observed that due diligence:
“is not done by merely hoping others would or could do what they were told, but also ensuring they have the skills to execute the job they are required to do and then ensuring compliance with that in accordance with the safe standards established.
Compliance requires a process of review and auditing, both formal and random, in order to ensure that the safe standards established are in fact being adhered to and under ongoing review”.
A review such as a WHS Legislative Compliance Gap Analysis is a valuable and effective way of reviewing compliance.
Your WHS policy and associated documentation is reviewed against the mandatory and applicable sections of the WHS Act 2011 clauses of the WHS Regulation 2017 that your company is required to be in compliance with. A report on the findings, including recommendations for improvement, is then made for management.
You could do such a review in-house if you have the resources, or you could engage a WHS consultant to do the review.
You can see more about the aim, scope and objectives of a compliance gap analysis at this link.
10th April 2018
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