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COVID-19 Due Diligence for Officers

Safe Work Australia has useful information on their website about effectively managing the risk COVID-19 and what Officers need to do to satisfy their duty of “due diligence” regarding COVID-19 (see link at end of this article).

The WHS Act NSW at Section 27 says that “ officer of the person conducting the business or undertaking must exercise due diligence to ensure that the person conducting the business or undertaking complies with that duty or obligation.”

“In relation to COVID-19, due diligence means you must:

  • Acquire and keep your knowledge of the COVID-19 situation up-to-date.

  • Follow advice from authoritative sources such as the Australian Government Department of Health and check daily for any updates to safety advice. If the advice is relevant to your workplace, quickly take steps to help your employer implement it in your workplace.

  • Ensure you understand your business and its WHS hazards and risks, including how COVID-19 could affect your workplace and workers.

  • Make sure your workplace is properly resourced to manage WHS risks during the COVID-19 outbreak and check that the resources are being used.

  • Review your businesses policies, procedures and reporting processes to ensure they address the risks of COVID-19. Update these materials if necessary.

  • Ensure that new information, policies, procedures and processes about COVID-19 are communicated clearly to workers and that processes are being followed.

  • Provide instruction and training to workers on things they need to do to help manage the risk of COVID-19 spreading in the workplace.”

How an Officer can satisfy their duty during COVID-19

Safe Work Australia sets out the how-to details under 3 headings:

  • “Understand the risks of COVID-19 and how it affects your business”

  • “Ensure policies and procedures are in place and being followed”

  • “Ensure the business is properly resourced to manage the risk of COVID-19”

You can find the how-to details on Safe Work’s website as well as an extensive and valuable range of related matters about dealing effectively with COVID-19 HERE

11th June 2020

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