Due diligence is a legal requirement for all employers under NSW health and safety legislation.
Employers must continually and comprehensively make sure that workers, volunteers and visitors are kept safe in the workplace. This is called ‘due diligence’.
Due diligence requires an officer (which includes company directors) to take reasonable steps to ensure the business complies with its work health and safety obligations.
An officer must have high, yet attainable standards of due diligence. These standards reflect the position and influence of the officer within the business.
The reasonable steps you must take to ensure you are exercising and demonstrating due diligence include, but are not limited to:
- having up-to-date knowledge of WHS matters
- acquire up-to-date knowledge of the WHS Act, regulations and codes of practice
- investigate current industry issues through conferences, seminars, information and awareness sessions, industry groups, newsletters
- acquire up-to-date knowledge of work health and safety management principles and practices
- ensure that work health and safety matters are considered at each corporation, club or association board meeting.
- having an understanding of the business or undertaking and generally of the hazards and risks associated with it.
- develop a plan of the operation that identifies hazards in core activities
- ensure that information is readily available to other officers and workers about procedures to ensure the safety of specific operations that pose health and safety risks in the workplace
- continuously improving the safety management system.
- ensuring the business has (and uses) appropriate resources and processes to eliminate or minimise safety risks from the work carried out
- establish and maintain safe methods of work
- implement a safety management system
- recruit personnel with appropriate skills, including safety personnel
- ensure staffing levels are adequate for safety in operations
- give safety personnel access to decision makers for urgent issues
- maintain and upgrade infrastructure.
- ensuring that the business has appropriate processes to receive information about incidents, hazards and risks and responding in a timely manner to that information
- employ a risk management process
- have efficient, timely reporting systems
- empower workers to cease unsafe work and request better resources
- establish processes for considering/ responding to information about incidents, hazards and risks in a timely fashion
- measure against positive performance indicators to identify deficiencies (e.g. a percentage of issues actioned within agreed timeframe).
- ensuring the business has and implements processes to comply with any duty or obligation under WHS laws. These can include:
- reporting notifiable incidents
- consulting with workers
- ensuring compliance with notices
- providing training and instruction to workers about WHS
- ensuring that health and safety representatives receive their entitlements to training
- undertake a legal compliance audit of policies, procedures and practices
- testing policies, procedures and practices to verify compliance with safety management planning
- Verifying the provision and use of the resources mentioned in steps 1-5.