The death of a worker, a $3 million fine and prison sentences for two company directors: The costs of not having a Safety Management System
If you know of a business that’s flying under the radar without a Safety Management System (also called a Workplace Health and Safety Management System or WHSMS) or with an out-of-date WHSMS, send them this article for a timely wake-up call…
Brisbane Auto Recycling (BAR) directors convicted of industrial manslaughter
You may have already heard about the tragic death of a Brisbane man who was struck by a forklift in the wrecking yard at Brisbane Auto Recycling (BAR) in Rocklea. The case has made headlines because of the Industrial Manslaughter charges levelled at the two company directors of BAR. But, it’s also important to acknowledge that it’s possible that this man’s death and others in similar circumstances could have been prevented – if the business had a Safe system of work for that task as part of a Safety Management System that was comprehensive, current and widely adhered to.
In the BAR case, the man who was driving the forklift that struck the fatal blow while reversing was unlicensed and unskilled. There were no safety systems in place to identify qualifications or licences that effectively prevented him from operating the machinery. There was also no forklift safe work procedure or traffic management procedures for the use of forklifts in areas with pedestrian activity. The directors did not know the man was unlicensed, but the court found this an insufficient excuse and convicted them of industrial manslaughter. The costs of not having a Safety Management System in this case was that the directors received a $3 million dollar fine and a term of 10 months’ imprisonment each (wholly suspended).
Here’s how a Workplace Health and Safety Management System could have prevented this and/or similar incidents from occurring:
- A WHSMS enshrines safety measures in policy. This means that there is documentation that clearly states the position of the business with regard to safety measures, available for reference.
- A WHSMS embeds safety considerations in workplace procedures. This means that the safety considerations are not only recognised, but there’s a plan for how they are to be carried out in practice.
- A WHSMS facilitates a culture of safety in a workplace cohort. When safety is a priority in an organisation, this permeates the workplace culture and normalises adherence to safety guidelines.
- A WHSMS facilitates compliance with laws and regulations. A SMS takes the guesswork out of WHS by making sure that the standards a business needs to meet are understood and the frameworks are put in place to support effective compliance.
Here’s what you can do to make sure this doesn’t happen in your business:
Small-medium Australian businesses
- Work Health & Safety Management System – WHS Policy and Procedures
- WHS Implementation Plan
- WHS Activity Matrix
- 21 Forms, registers and checklists
- Customising instructions to make sure it meets all the needs of your business.
Priced at just AUD$1250.00. View more info including sample documentation and purchase your Safety Starter Kit here.
Larger Australian businesses
If you’re a larger Australian business, it’s important to make sure that your WHSMS meets the specific requirements of your organisation, work type, practices and work environments. Recovery Partners has worked with many Australian businesses to design and implement customised Safety Management Systems that protect workers and legally safeguard businesses and business owners or directors. Our experienced staff are always happy to consult with you about your safety needs.
To make compliance even easier, we’ve built an app called Diligence that hosts your WHSMS online, all in one easily accessible location. We’ve also got a variety of customisable WHS templates available in our online Toolbox shop if you just need to patch up some gaps in your WHSMS.
Get in touch
To find out more about a WHSMS for your business or to check that your current systems are sufficient, get in touch with Recovery Partners by calling 1300 647 789 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org today.
Disclaimer – these articles are provided to supply general safety information to people responsible for OHS in their organisation. They are general in nature and do not substitute for legal and/or professional advice. We always suggest that organisations obtain information specific to their needs. Additional information can be found at www.workcover.nsw.au
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