Due Diligence under the new Work Health and Safety (WHS) Act
The new WHS Act provides guidance on what the due diligence standard requires with a clear definition of ‘due diligence’ requirements. Division 4 Duty of Officers, Workers and Other Persons describes that ‘a person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU) has a duty or obligation under the Act’ to exercise due diligence. The imposition of the new positive obligation to exercise due diligence presents a new compliance obligation for “officers” of companies.
Due diligence is described as taking six reasonable steps:
a) To acquire and keep up-to-date knowledge of work health and safety matters; and
b) To gain an understanding of the nature of the operations of the business or undertaking of the person conducting the business or undertaking and generally of the hazards and risks associated with those operations; and
c) To ensure that the person conducting the business or undertaking has available for use, and uses, appropriate resources and processes to eliminate or minimise risks to health and safety from work carried out as part of the conduct of the business or undertaking; and
d) To ensure that the person conducting the business or undertaking has appropriate processes for receiving and considering information regarding incidents, hazards and risks and responding in a timely way to that information; and
e) To ensure that the person conducting the business or undertaking has, and implements, processes for complying with any duty or obligation of the person conducting the business or undertaking under this act; and
f) To verify the provision and use of the resources and processes referred to in paragraphs (c) to (e).
Examples of Due Diligence
For the purposes of paragraph (e), the duties or obligations under this Act of a person conducting a business or undertaking may include:
- Reporting notifiable incidents;
- Consulting with workers;
- Ensuring compliance with notices issued under this act;
- Ensuring the provision of training and instruction to workers about work health and safety; and
- Ensuring that health and safety representatives receive their entitlements to training.
For further information contact Safety Services Australia Pty Limited
02 9836 3100 or visit: www.safetyservices.net.au