What is due diligence and how you can ensure your compliance?

What is due diligence and why is it important?

Due diligence is a legal requirement for all employers under the National Work Health and Safety Framework (applicable to NSW, QLD, SA, ACT, NT and in 2022 WA). Victoria has similar provisions concerning their OHS Act called reckless endangerment.

Employers must continually and comprehensively make sure that workers, volunteers and visitors are kept safe in the workplace. This is called "due diligence".

If a company officer shows they have not met their due diligence obligations, they can be prosecuted – even if an incident hasn’t occurred. Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs) are especially exposed as they often do not have the internal capabilities and resources to ensure compliance. Mitti is excited to be able to assist business owners in ensuring they meet the due diligence test.

Ensuring due diligence is executed

Due diligence requires an officer (including company directors) to take reasonable steps to ensure the business complies with its work health and safety obligations.

An officer must have high yet achievable standards of due diligence. These standards reflect the position and influence of the officer within the business.

The reasonable steps you must take to ensure you are exercising and demonstrating due diligence include, but are not limited to:

1) Having up-to-date knowledge of WHS matters 

  • Acquiring up-to-date knowledge of the WHS Act, regulations and codes of practice
  • Investigate current industry issues through Mitti Insights, conferences, seminars, information and awareness sessions, industry groups, newsletters
  • Acquiring up-to-date knowledge of work health and safety management principles and practices
  • Ensuring that work health and safety is discussed regularly and is a standing agenda item in workplace meetings.
  • Having an understanding of the business or undertaking and generally of the hazards and risks associated with it.
  • Developing a plan of the operation that identifies hazards in core activities
  • Ensuring that information is readily available to other officers and workers about procedures to ensure the safety of specific operations that pose health and safety risks in the workplace.
  • Continuously improving the safety management system.
  • Conducting regular inspections using iAuditor

2) Ensuring the business has and uses appropriate resources and processes to eliminate or minimise safety risks from work carried out

  • Establish and maintain safe methods of work
  • Implementing a safety management system
  • Recruiting personnel with appropriate skills, including safety personnel
  • Ensuring staffing levels are adequate for safety in operations
  • Utilising Issues within iAuditor to identify, allocate and track actions within your workplace

3) Ensuring that the business has  appropriate processes to receive information about incidents, hazards and risks and responding  in a timely manner to that information

  • Employing a risk management process
  • Having efficient, timely reporting systems using Issues and iAuditor
  • Establishing processes for considering/ responding to information about incidents, hazards and risks by allocating actions within your iAuditor account
  • Tracking progress of the actions and issues within your dashboard

4) Ensuring the business has and implements processes to comply with any duty or obligation under WHS laws. These can include:

  • Reporting notifiable incidents to the regulator and early reporting of workplace injuries to your insurer utilising issues
  • Consulting with workers
  • Closing down actions within iAuditor
  • Providing training and instruction to workers about WHS
  • Ensuring that health and safety representatives receive their entitlements to training
  • Testing policies, procedures and practices to verify compliance with safety management planning

For more information on how to better mitigate risks at your business book a free 30-minute risk led consultation with our Risk Solutions Team.

Important Notice
The information contained in this article is general in nature and you should consider whether the information is appropriate to your specific needs. Legal and other matters referred to in this article are based on our interpretation of laws existing at the time and should not be relied on in place of professional advice. We are not responsible for the content of any site owned by a third party that may be linked to this article. SafetyCulture and Mitti disclaims all liability (except for any liability which by law cannot be excluded) for any error, inaccuracy, or omission from the information contained in this article, any site linked to this article, and any loss or damage suffered by any person directly or indirectly through relying on this information.

You must decide whether or not it is appropriate, in light of your own circumstances, to act on this advice. You should ensure you obtain and consider the policy wording or Product Disclosure Statement for the policy before you make any decision to buy it.

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Mitti Insurance Pty Ltd (Mitti) (ABN 56 640 574 385, AFSL 528433)

Mitti Insurance Pty Ltd is a related entity of QBE Insurance (Australia) Limited.