Officers Due Diligence

 

The Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (WHS Act)  imposes a proactive duty on officers of a “Person conducting a business or undertaking” (PCBU), the new term that includes employers to exercise due diligence to ensure that the PCBU meets its work health and safety obligations and while personal liability for work health and safety offences is not new, the nature and scope of this duty on officers is.

The due diligence duty is a duty imposed on officers personally and is separate to the duty imposed on their company. The duty is proactive and it can be breached even in the absence of an incident at the officers company.

Breaches of the due diligence duty are criminal in nature attracting a maximum penalty of $600,000 and up to five years imprisonment for serious offences.  Penalties for breaches of the due diligence duty are imposed on officers personally and as they are criminal in nature they cannot be insured against.  All penalties imposed on officers are over and above any penalty imposed on their company.

WORKSHOP DURATION:

 The Officers Due Diligence workshop is a 2 – 2.5 hour session (allowing time for questions from participants) and encourages active participation through activities, real life case studies and discussion.

WHAT IS COVERED IN THIS WORKSHOP?   

This interactive and informative workshop has been develop using the latest adult learning principals and aims to provide participants with information on key elements of the WHS Act for PCBU’s and their officers, with a particular emphasis on how Officers can meet their positive duty to exercise Due Diligence.

Topics covered in this workshop include:

  • Overview of WHS Legislation
  • What Due Diligence and Reasonably Practicable mean
  • What does this mean in practical terms
  • How to ensure you comply with your due diligence obligations
  • Case Studies & issues to consider

Participants will receive comprehensive participant notes and tools to assist them post workshop.

What does due diligence mean?   

In the work health and safety context, due diligence is defined to include six key elements.

  • KNOW – Taking reasonable steps to acquire and keep up-to-date knowledge of work health and safety matters
  • UNDERSTAND – Taking reasonable steps to gain an understanding of the nature of the operations of the business or undertaking of the PCBU, and generally the hazards & risks associated with those operations.
  • RESOURCE – Taking reasonable steps to ensure that the PCBU has available for use, and uses, appropriate resources and processes to eliminate or minimise risks to health & safety from work carried out as part of the conduct of the business or undertaking.
  • MONITOR – Taking reasonable steps to ensure that the PCBU has appropriate processes for receiving & considering information regarding incidents, hazards & risks, and responding in a timely way to that information.
  • COMPLY – Taking reasonable steps to ensure that the PCBU has, and implements, processes for complying with any duty or obligation of the PCBU under the WHS legislation.
  • VERIFY – Taking reasonable steps to verify the provision & use of the resources & processes referred to in the other elements.

WHO SHOULD ATTEND? 

This workshop is a must for all Senior Managers and Board members but is also of value to anyone in management positions.

Who is an officer? 

Officers can include:

  • Director of the corporation (including non-executive directors)
  • Company secretary
  • A person who makes decisions that affect the whole of the business of the corporation
  • A person who makes decisions that affect a substantial part of the business of the corporation
  • A person who participates in making decisions that affect the whole of the business of the corporation
  • A person who participates in making decisions that affect a substantial part of the business of the corporation
  • A person who has the capacity to affect significantly the corporations financial standing
  • A person who in accordance with those instructions or wishes the directors of the corporation are accustomed to act (excluding advice given by the person in the proper performance of functions attaching to the person’s professional capacity or their business relationship with the directors or the corporation)
  • A receiver, or receiver manager of the property of the corporation
  • An administrator of the corporation
  • An administrator of a deed of company arrangement executed by the corporation
  • A liquidator of the corporation
  • A trustee or other person administering a compromise or arrangement made between the corporation and someone else.