Apr 21st 2022
Are you an officer of your company?
Are you an 'officer' in your company?
Did you know that 'officers' of a company have specific duties under work health and safety (WHS) laws? If you are unsure, look at your role in the company to determine if you meet the criteria as an 'officer.'
A person's role and influence may be different for every business enterprise but answering yes to any of the following questions is a good indicator that you might be an 'officer' in your business:
● Do you own or operate a small business?
● Do you make high-level or strategic decisions about all or part of your business?
● Can you make financial decisions for the business?
Officer Work Health and Safety duties
Officers of a company need to exercise due diligence to ensure its WHS duties are met. This can include ensuring workers, and other persons are protected from harm and making sure suitable safe work systems are in place.
As an officer, it is important to be aware that with that responsibility comes higher penalties for failing to meet WHS duties, including possible criminal charges and imprisonment.
How you can meet your WHS duty as an officer
One of the most important tasks is to ensure your WHS knowledge is current and you are aware of the hazards and risks of your business. You can demonstrate your due diligence by:
● Acquiring and keeping up-to-date with knowledge of WHS issues.
● Gaining a good understanding of the hazards and risks associated with business operations.
● Ensuring appropriate resources and processes are available to eliminate or minimise risks to health and safety at work.
● Making sure there are appropriate processes for reporting and actioning incidents, hazards, and risks.
● Ensuring that processes are implemented for complying with obligations under your applicable WHS Act.
As an officer, it's important that you take an active role and don't be shy in seeking advice from others if needed. We can't all be experts in everything. Seeking knowledge from others such as operational managers and supervisors or subject matter experts is good practice and demonstrates good due diligence.
Work Health and Safety Management Systems
A WHS management system is a great foundation to help an organisation meet its WHS due diligence obligations and provide a framework to help it control and manage its WHS risks.
'Officers' of a company have an important role in WHS management systems. They should help to develop and implement the system and ensure it includes appropriate policies, procedures, and processes for managing WHS in the workplace.
SafetyDocs by SafetyCulture can help you meet your responsibilities with an extensive range of management systems available to suit most industries.
Check out our Management Systems below.
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