Do you know where all your organisation’s WHS documentation is?
A recent decision by the New South Wales Supreme Court in the case of Perilya Limited v Nash  NSWSC 706 highlights the importance of managing work health and safety (WHS) documentation and making it available to WHS regulators if (and when) required.
The case involved an on-site accident which occurred in June 2012. The NSW Department of Trade, Investment, Regional Infrastructure, and Services issued notices under S155 of The Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (NSW) for documents from an employer. The employer failed to comply with the notice, and challenged the validity of the Regulator’s order.
Imposing a fine of $20,000 for each offence, Justice Hall noted that the “functions of the regulator under the Act are ‘wide-ranging’”, going on to state that the provisions of S155 are enhanced where the regulator has reasonable grounds to believe any of the following:
- That the person is capable of providing the information,
- The information concerns or relates to a possible violation of the Act,
- The giving of information will assist the regulator to monitor or enforce compliance with the Act.
Despite the Defendant’s argument that the requested documents were not relevant to monitor compliance, Justice Hall considered the powers granted by section 155 as “sufficiently broad” enough to allow the Department to obtain them.
What does this mean for you?
Evidently, the Department’s existing regulatory powers are both extensive and elastic, granting regulators the right to demand documents which are not strictly OHS documents. You could be asked to present anything deemed relevant to OHS or WHS processes; even minutes from board meetings. It is essential that all of your documents and records are managed efficiently. If an organization fails to comply with a notice, a significant financial penalty could be levied for every document that has been lost, misplaced, or not provided.
Given the severe consequences associated with anarchic document management, it is far wiser (and cheaper!) to utilize a professional WHS software system with in-built Document Management to handle all aspects of OHS, WHS, reporting, risk management, audits, and compliance. A modern, integrated software system allows you to present evidence of your commitment to workplace safety quickly and confidently, regardless of the circumstances that call for it.
Organizing your health and safety documentation and providing proof of compliance is no trivial matter; it is essential to demonstrating that your business is fully compliant with OHS and WHS responsibilities.
Beakon’s WHS Software utilizes best-of-breed document management and workflow management, so not only are mandated processes completed, but each step of the process is logged and documented, and you can quickly and easily demonstrate compliance.
Contact Beakon today on 02 9113 5947 for a no-obligations chat about how we can help you take control of your WHS requirements.