Time Bomb in the Workplace – OHS Liabilities Can Cost Big Money
By Stan M Michaels
Occupational Health and Safety is a major issue in the Australian workplace. OHS liabilities can cause horrific situations, including loss of life, and massive costs. Australian industry, government and business have been making a determined collective effort to stamp out both unsafe work practices and the arguably even more unsafe ignorance and sheer incompetence which creates these problems. Contractor management systems are now considered the most reliable method of ensuring proper OHS systems and risk management strategies are in place.
OHS contractor management and best practice are the same thing Best practice in any industry or profession is based on clear objectives and procedures. In OHS contractor management that’s exactly what compliance is intended to achieve. These are very straightforward operational guidelines, as well as laws, and professionals in all industries observe them scrupulously.
In the trades, the world’s top contractors also have the best OHS practices and are strictly compliant with laws, even in multiple different countries. It’s no coincidence that these are also the preferred contractors for major projects. They’re by far better risks than their competitors.
In Australia, the requirements under the various state OHS acts that create the need to manage the safety of your contractors are generally regulated under the parts of the Acts relating to duties as employers or as controllers of workplaces. Penalties for non-compliance can be huge. As an example in Victoria, breaches of the OH&S Act carry a maximum penalty of $1,075,050 for companies and $215,010 for individuals. Under-managed contracts can lead to OHS claims in negligence and breaches of contract, another highly unwanted sequel to "vague" OHS contract management.
Important note: Directors and managers are usually personally liability if their company breaches the Act. Liabilities depend on the situations involved, but these are also potentially serious issues in terms of compliance with the Commonwealth Corporations Law, and can be extremely damaging.
Professional OHS monitoring- Invaluable in the workplace It’s now global best practice to outsource OHS monitoring to professionals.
There are many compelling reasons for this approach:
- Ensuring compliance with legal requirements and industry standards
- Reducing risk in all areas when employing contractors
- Guarantees having appropriate expertise and specialization required to undertake OHS compliance
- Removes the administrative burden on organizations in dealing with licensing, insurance, and other fundamental business operational considerations
- Provides a protective audit trail and effective reporting system
- Gives a lower cost alternative to in-house administration
- Provides thorough OHS best practice enforcement and monitoring for preventing and reducing accidents
Contractor safety management systems are the safest option Prior to the introduction of modern systematic OHS management, historically the most dangerous place in Australia was the workplace, even more dangerous than Gallipoli. The level of commitment from trades, government, business and industry to the very high modern standards is absolute. Risks in the workplace are serious to businesses, staff and contractors alike.
The best, most reliable way of ensuring full coverage of all issues is a full spectrum contractor compliance system. The top contract management professionals provide complete coverage and support, including safety induction services and advisory backup for employers.