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Work Health and Safety Blog

There's so much happening in the world of health & safety. Changes in legislation and requirements, changes in best practice, changes in ... you name it. Here's my take on making it simple. Simply Genius WHS - stop guessing... manage with confidence.

The FIRST question asked by a WHS Inspector

Maralyn Kastel - Thursday, June 13, 2013

This morning I accompanied a client for a formal record of interview by an inspector from Work Health Safety Queensland in relation to an investigation of an incident under the Work Health and Safety Act (Qld)

After the formalities of name, address, employer etc the first questions were:

  • What are the names of the directors of the Board of [company X]
  • What systems and processes do the directors have in place to ensure that [Company X] complies with the Queensland Work Health and Safety Act ...

If that had been you, or your client in the hot-seat in any of the 7 jurisdictions in which the WHS Act now applies - how do you think the answer would stack up against:

  •  the definition of "due diligence" in the Act; and
  •  the various guidance documents which have been issued by Safe Work Australian and other OHS/WHS regulators?
Think about it - it is and will continue to be a standard question now in any formal interview for any possible offences under the WHS Acts.

Being prepared has two great benefits:

  1. Having a sound due diligence process in place may mean that incidents are less likely to occur and so you may never even be asked the question .. Oh gee, wouldn't that be make it a waste of time putting all that work into good due diligence.
  2. If something goes wrong, and the debate around zero harm suggests that something will go wrong, its just a question of what and when, then having sound due diligence may:
  • mean that processes are in place which mitigate the severity of any incident; and
  • it will minimise or eliminate the prospect of personal charges against officers.
So you have been warned - be ready.

Guest post by Graham Dent - Lawyer and Trainer - Dent Consulting and Legal

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