Posted by: Angelo Venardos | Date: 17 October 2011
If not, now is time to make sure you are ready, because on the 1 January 2012, the new harmonised national Work Health and Safety laws will commence. The Queensland Act will be known as the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (WHS Act 2011).
Under the new Work Health and Safety Act 2011 Company Officers will have new and increased obligations to ensure their businesses are complying. The definition of ‘officer’ includes:
Under the new laws, officers could be personally liable for up to $600,000 in fines and/or 5 years’ imprisonment if they are deemed to have breached their primary duty of care.
The primary duty of care is to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety of workers at work in the business. The primary duty is broad and provides for:
A self-employed person must also ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, his or her own health and safety while at work.
Directors and management of businesses throughout Australia are now in a position to influence the occupational health and safety regime of their organisation. It is imperative to address this now so that appropriate procedures are in place come 1 January 2012. It is very important to establish a culture now to ensure safety is taken seriously. Therefore officers will have to exercise a positive duty of care and this will be achieved by conducting on an ongoing basis “due diligence” that will include:
The clock is ticking and you only have 10 weeks to get your business prepared for the new laws. There will be no grace period after commencement. Therefore I urge you to take the time now to assess your situation, understand your Work Health and Safety obligations which will be dependent on your business and industry and make sure that come January 1 2012 you have a new set of Work Health and Safety processes in place and communicated to your people.
Please contact me to discuss any questions or queries you may have regarding the work health and safety laws, or workplace safety in general.