Executive due diligence

Managers have always had a central role to play in promoting and driving health and safety in the workplace. This is recognised not just in a safety management context, but also in a legal context. Managers have always faced more significant sanctions for breaching health and safety obligations in their capacity as a manger, than in their capacity as an employee.

The legislative focus on the role of senior managers was made abundantly clear during the development and passage of model legislation designed to “harmonise” Australia’s health and safety laws. As part of the package of new laws the concept of “positive” due diligence was imposed on Company Officers, increasing both the expectations on those Officers, and the consequences of non-compliance with the laws.

While harmonisation may have made the obligations “positive”, and increased the consequences for noncompliance, the notion of management due diligence, and its importance for health and safety is not new. Indeed, the content of the obligations of due diligence have not changed, and can be simply stated as:

… the installation of a proper system to provide against the commission of
[offenses] and the provision of adequate supervision to see that the system was properly carried out … ( Universal Telecasters (Qld) Ltd v Guthrie [1978] FCA 9)

You can view a short primer on due diligence HERE.

You can access a more detailed analysis of this topic HERE, or subscribe to my updates HERE.

3 thoughts on “Executive due diligence

  1. Yep. Yet Graham Young still wants us to do his safety for him. If he really wanted to understand the consequences then he would want to do it himself to make sure he was not exposed. Anyhow…


    Anne Symonds Mobile 0410504019

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  2. What State or industry initiatives are being undertaken to prepare WA businesses for the rollout of the harmonised WHS laws?

  3. In order for Due Diligence to work and/or WHS in general it is important to turn the organisational chart upside down.

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