One of the key features of the new WHS laws which you should take note of is the move away from the employment relationship. The laws now dictate that a Person Conducting a Business or Undertaking (PCBU), owes the primary duty of care to each of its 'workers'. This means not just an employer, but also a Principal engaging contractors.
The new WHS laws introduce a greater duty on officers to exercise due diligence in ensuring their businesses or undertaking complies with the laws. A breach of this duty can result in criminal prosecution and significant individual penalties of up to $600,000 and/or five years imprisonment.
To assist in preventing a breach of these laws, you need to be prepared to demonstrate to an inspector how you are discharging your duty of care. This includes how your organisation is making sure your workers, including contractors and subcontractors, are safe. Read more here.
We have a panel of people we recommend if you need assistance in setting up compliance systems. Call us for a referral.
The Insurance Solution
Prevention is better than cure and there are insurance solutions. Management Liability Insurance or Statutory Liability cover can assist in the event of allegations being made against you.
However, these are mainly able to provide legal representation to defend charges as well as pay for damages. The intention is to cover statutory fines and penalties (where indemnifiable by law) but there is still an expectation that the insured is managing the risk with internal procedures and compliance systems.
The combination of good systems backed up with Insurance cover will provide the best protection with Workplace Health and Safety risks for your business. Call us to discuss these risks further.