The WHS Act imposes a specific duty on Officers to ensure the PCBU meets its work health and safety obligations. In fact, all managers should apply due diligence to the management of WHS in their area of responsibility.

So, what does it mean to be diligent?

The WHS Act describes due diligence as taking reasonable steps to:

  • Acquire and keep up to date knowledge of work health and safety matters
  • Gain an understanding of the nature of the operations of the business or undertaking and generally of the hazards and risks associated with those operations
  • Ensure that the PCBU has available for use appropriate resources and processes to eliminate or minimise risks to health and safety
  • Ensure that the PCBU has appropriate processes for receiving and considering information regarding incidents, hazards and risks and responding in a timely way to that information
  • Ensure that the PCBU has, and implements, processes for complying with any duty under the Act
  • Verify the provision and use of the resources and processes for the management of WHS The due diligence duties of officers under the WHS Act supports improved leadership that contributes to a safety culture.

Due diligence can be seen as a proactive duty

Typical activities managers should be undertaking include:

  • Development and implementation of policy
  • Setting targets for the improvement of WHS management
  • Allocating budget and resources to achieve targets
  • Assigning responsibilities for the management WHS
  • Monitoring WHS management through the review of incident investigations, inspections an audits