OH&S – How can a manager comply with their duties?

Understanding the company, its operations, and the hazards associated with those operations:

Directors must understand all of the areas of operations of their company as well as a knowledge of and understanding of the hazards caused by their business’ operations.

Directors need to rely on senior management to provide them with the information they need to comply with their duties. This includes being provided with satisfactory evidence from senior management.

Evidence may include:

  • organisational charts;
  • information about the distribution of work under those organisation charts;
  • how that distribution of work properly reflects the needs of the business;
  • documents that back up this information, e.g. the company constitution, the business plan, board charters, policies and procedures.

Reporting structure:

To understand the level of risk associated with each identified hazard, a director needs to ensure there is a reporting system that accurately reports the activity of the business to the directors.

For this reporting system to flow and function effectively, directors must ensure that the business reporting structure identifies the business’ safety performance against budgets and forecasts, explaining gaps in performance so that the board can develop further strategy to meet the business plan.

Safety management systems:

Directors should refer to the hierarchy of control to understand the varying levels of controls that prevent each hazard from posing a risk to health and safety.

These controls will not be used by the director but by workers on a day to day basis while carrying out their roles in the company. It is important though, for directors to educate themselves and ensure that resources within the company are being used effectively to eliminate health and safety risks.

Workers are competent in safety management:

Directors will not be complying with their duties unless they are certain that workers are knowledgeable, competent, capable, and complying with the safety management system of the company.

Note: This list is not exhaustive – it is a guideline for beginning to think about safety in your company and be aware of the levels of responsibility you have to your workers to provide a safe workplace.

The Employment Law Practical Handbook are currently offering a special on OH&S and employment toolkits. See here for full details.

“What if I told you there was a simple way you could have a collection of useable, legal workplace documents at your fingertips… yours to cut, paste and use as often as you liked?

Imagine the thousands of dollars you’d save on the cost of creating and maintaining your workplace contracts, policies and forms…

I’m talking about:

Employee contracts
Individual agreements
Warning letters
Application forms
Leave policies… and more”

Source: OH&S Bulletin Joanna Weekes – Editor Friday 13 January 2012

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