Health and safety prevention system better than $1.1m fine

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Health and safety prevention system better than $1.1m fine

An Australian court recently imposed a $1.1 million fine on a company that did not exercise the required level of due diligence to ensure it complied with its WHS obligations and responsibilities.

The company’s safety breaches led to the electrocution and death of a sub‑contractor delivering material to a company site.

In one of the first cases prosecuted under the recently harmonised Australian WHS laws the court found the company had a clear health and safety duty to those who visited its sites but did not take a number of relatively simple safety measures that could have mitigated or eliminated the risks at the sites. This was a breach of the WHS Act and the company was guilty of a Category 2 offence.

The Australian legislation sets out the types of due diligence actions that will ensure companies comply with the WHS obligations and duties. These include:

  • ensuring the company has available for use (and is used) appropriate resources and processes to eliminate or minimise the risks to health and safety from work carried out as part of the business;
  • ensuring the company has appropriate processes for receiving and considering information regarding incidents, hazards and risks and responding in a timely way to that information;
  • ensuring the company has (and implements) processes for complying with any duties or obligations under the applicable WHS legislation; and
  • verifying that the processes have been implemented.

The Australian WHS legislation has been used as the model for New Zealand legislation which will come into force in early 2016.

So irrespective of which side of the Tasman a company operates now is the time to review your existing management systems as non-compliance could have serious financial and personal consequences for company officers.

The viisiSafe solution from iViis provides assurance that health and safety processes and controls used by your company or your contractors are working, and identifies where gaps exist. Leveraging off existing company systems, viisiSafe captures, manages and reports on all WHS activity and transactions. This means safer workplaces and improved compliance for all staff.

Visit our website for more information on how our health and safety software can help you.