A recent case of a workplace death serves to demonstrate that high risk matters and the observance of compliance are not something to be put on the list of things to do tomorrow.
Melbourne Water has been handed down a high financial penalty (DPP v Melbourne Water Corporation, 2014) in respect of the death of a worker (2011) at the Eastern Treatment Plant. The employee drowned in a sewerage channel, presumed to have fallen through a dislodged grate. The company are reported to have been aware that the grates caused a potential hazard and in his summing up of the case the Judge noted that there had been previous reports concerning the grates which had gone unheeded.
Not diminishing the tragedy of death, but neither did the company pay attention to its obligations to act in accordance with health and safety legislation. Our message is that it is never too soon to monitor risk and take corrective action at the same time taking into account compliance obligations.
Do you have a concern about risk exposure in any area of your organisation? Contact us on 1300 602 880 or via our website www.complianceessentials.com au to to arrange an initial discussion.
In a recent claim for unfair dismissal brought before the Fair Work Commission the case was found in the employer’s (Linfox) who it seems had clearly set out behavioural expectations in their organisational policies and procedures.
The matter hinged on the employee having a mobile phone switched on during working hours contrary to company policy. This contravention was one of a collection of non-compliance issues attaching to the employee’s stance on company directives including the refusal to sign a document in relation to social media.
Does your organisation have robust policies and procedures in place? Compliance Essentials can assist and with other compliance matters for your organisation. Contact us on 1300 602 880 or via our website www.complianceessentials.com.au
Changes to the Fair Work Act 2009 in relation to keeping workplaces free from bullying are effective from 1 January 2014.
What are the implications for employers? The provisions of the amended legislation will allow a worker who suffers bullying in the workplace to take the matter directly to the Fair Work Commission bypassing their employer; the definition of ‘worker’ extends to ‘contractors’. If the worker is successful in their action the Fair Work Commission has the power to make any orders it deems appropriate to prevent the worker from being bullied in the workplace – this is other than reinstatement, payment of compensation or other monetary penalties.
Employers have time, prior to the commencement of these provisions, to review policies and procedures, setting out expected standards of behaviour in the workplace, ensuring robust procedures for dealing with bullying claims as well as engaging in staff training across their organisation. Policies and procedures need to include a firm line on use of social media which is also a potential avenue for bullying and vilification between members of the workforce.
Compliance Essentials is available to assist employers to prepare and be ready for this legislative change; contact us on 1300 602 880 or via www.complianceessentials.com.au.
Some of the mistakes that businesses make when it comes to compliance are very simple, and because of that we are launching a series of posts looking at some of the matters which can be very easily rectified.
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Need to look at the bigger picture? Contact us on 1300 602 880 or via the website for an initial discussion as to how Compliance Essentials can help your business.
So what is the issue with ‘compliance’? Has the word acquired a bad image or does it go deeper?
One of the issues – the decision makers in some organisations fail to admit that ‘compliance’ is relevant to what they do, whereas in fact every organisation has compliance obligations.
Forget the handle and move away from the concept of policing. The issue does not necessarily lie with the concept of compliance, the issue rests with not acknowledging and accepting that adopting a compliant culture can bring benefits.
Organisations that can’t see the gain unfortunately don’t acknowledge the potential of pain until it happens to them. Using the analogy of insurances, it isn’t common practice to wait, for example until there has been a theft or involvement in a car accident, to think about insurances; most of us buy the required policies to protect ourselves and/or our businesses in case the bad things happen outside of our control. In a similar way, using best endeavours to proactively implement compliance in an organisational environment is a means of taking control as well as protecting a business from the risk of serious compliance breaches that could, amongst other outcomes, cause injury, have a financial impact, damage reputation.
Why not take the benefits, which are manifold, and will ultimately make a contribution to the bottom line.
By the way, it is calculated to be far more costly to remedy a proven compliance breach than to be in control with the implementation of a compliance plan………….
The Compliance Essentials Team
As with a lot of individual definitions of ‘compliance’ being OH&S compliant can trigger a lot of different interpretations; not always are employers aware of the bigger picture.
Let’s go back to the dictionary definition of Compliance; a noun with the meaning of conforming to a rule, such as a specification, policy, standard or law. When applied to OH&S or any other operational function it is therefore important that all aspects of performance and functionality are considered in conjunction with compliance obligations and organisational risk management methodology.
Occupational health and safety is about protecting the workforce, visitors and the general public from physical danger as well as protecting the mental wellbeing of employees. Should something go wrong the most tragic outcome can be death. The Safework Australia website reports that 75 workplace related deaths occurred between January and April this year with the highest occurrence from public road crashes.
The starting points for improving workplace health and safety are commitment to a safe working environment stemming from a duty of care and implementing well thought out organisational policies and procedures that engage the understanding of all concerned and which can form part of ongoing organisational training and job related briefings.
Compliance Essentials can assist your organisation to put in place robust policies and procedures; contact us on 1300 602 880 for an initial discussion or visit our website at www.complianceessentials.com.au.
Always a minefield and yes, there are big issues in keeping a workplace safe for staff and visitors, but the details should not be overlooked. Do you make sure that safety jackets are work by all those acceessing relevant areas? Is the first aid cabinet fully stocked and readily accessible? Who is in the building? – a lot of organisations fail to keep tabs on visitors. What about an emergency evacuation plan? These are some of the items that are part and parcel of the bigger issue picture.
Being safe is about mitigating risk exposure wherever a risk can arise in the work place.
Why not give us a call and have a chat with us about our fixed fee site OH&S audit – free phone 1300 602 8802.
The Compliance Essentials Team
There are several Compliance Codes that are available on the Worksafe Victoria website to assist employers to comply with their OH&S obligations and responsibilities. For an initial view of OH&S compliance contact us at Compliance Essentials and find out more on our OH&S site audit and how we can assist your organisation to stay compliant – free phone 1300 602 880.
The Compliance Essentials Team
Benefits of outsourcing
It isn’t an easy market at present and some employers may feel this is not the time to take on new or additional staff to look after non-core business areas.
Outsourcing is one way of coping with additional workloads without a long term financial commitment to wages, superannuation, paying leave entitltements, additional workcover premium etc. Outsourcing is a very effective way to keep things moving, and so cut down on the risk of system gaps or jobs left undone and at the same time taking pressure off other key personnel leaving them time to concentrate on core business aims and objectives.
Compliance Essentials offers outsourced HR management and Return to Work management, you can call us on 1300 602 880 and we can arrange a no fee, no obligation chat to discuss your business’ needs.
Australia isn’t far away from OH&S Harmonisation; some employers are dragging their heels in this respect. Adopting a compliant culture, be it in relation to OH&S and/or to other legislation that applies to organisational activities, is not applying a policing regime it is a formula for recognising and enmeshing responsibilities and obligations into an organisation at the same time reviewing business activities to work towards continuous improvement and best practice; helping the bottom line.
Compliance Essentials offers an introductory, no obligation, discussion to assist businesses with compliance concerns. www.complianceessentials.com.au