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Roles and responsibilities of an officer under the Work Health and Safety Act

Question:

Discuss about the Safety Rule Management for Regulatory Burden.

The Australian Government established Safe Work Australia in 2008, which is an Australian government statutory body, and which focuses on developing national policy related to worker’s compensation and the regulation of the Work Health and Safety Act (WHS) (Safeworkaustralia.gov.au, 2017).

The purpose of this report is to understand the roles and responsibilities of an officer of an organization and due diligence described under the section 27 of the Work Health and Safety Act, Australia.  The chosen organization is KFC. An interview with KFC officer has been conducted.

The report will review the Safe Work Australia website for understanding the roles and responsibilities of an officer, the six due diligence that an officer must follow and the definition of an officer according to the Work Health and Safety Act model. However, for maturing the purpose of this report, an interview with KFC officer has been conducted. The method includes asking for one question to the officer in the application of the each responsibility out of the six responsibilities of the designation mentioned in Due Diligence of the legislative act. Then, the report will show the results based on the interview and search recommendations to scopes to develop strategies for effective leadership.  

Safe Work Australia demonstrates the duties and responsibilities of an officer described in section 27 of the Work Health and Safety Act, Australia. According to the act, an officer should have responsibilities for his employees to ensure that the legislative act is applying properly. The officer is he whose decision influences the resources that have the capacity to allow the purposes of the Work Health and Safety norms (Australia, 2012).

However, the Act places duty and responsibility on an officer to practice due diligence of any business operation. The officers should take logical steps that would ensure a healthy and safe work culture. An officer would ensure its workers and the organizational structure that the law has acted properly and the organization are efficient enough to manage the hazards related to the Work Health and Safety (Matsuura, 2016).  

The section 27 of the Work Health and Safety Act has provided the Health and Safety duty that an officer should follow to exercise the Due Diligence. Due Diligence is a corporate law that allows an officer to do some steps to follow it in his company (Lawrence, 2013).

Interview with KFC officer

The officer should be up-to-date about the knowledge of the Work Health and Safety related matters. The officers should have an understanding of the nature of the business operation and the risks and hazards associated with it. The officer should also have an understanding of what is required for ensuring the health and safety legislation. An officer should ensure the process and the resources that eliminate the risks associated with the act. He should also ensure it that the rule is being followed properly (Zanko & Dawson, 2012).

The officer should have known about the appropriate processes that will allow him to receive information about the incident, hazards, risks related to Work Health and Safety and the necessary requirement to manage the risks.  The officer should have known about his obligations that include proper reporting about the notifiable incidents that typically means serious infectious disease, consulting with the workers. The officer should sign an agreement that allows issues to act under the Work Health and Safety Act (. The officer should arrange training and provide instruction to the workers regarding work health and safety matters. Even the officer should be aware of whether the health and safety representative receives their entitlements to the training program (Stewart, 2013).

The section 4 of the model Work Health and Safety Act elucidate a definition of an officer of a corporation, partnership or unincorporated association. The definition has been stated in section 9 under the Commonwealth Corporations Act 2001 (Australia, 2015). An officer could also mean a director or secretary of a corporation. Otherwise, an officer means the person who participates in the decision-making process that would affect directly or partly on the business operation. An officer is able to influence effectively on the corporation’s financial framework (Reese, 2015). The directors use to follow the instructions of officers. The officer also could be a receiver and a manager who handles the property of the corporation. The officer sometimes also could be an administrator who instructs on the business operation. The definition according to The Corporation Act provides a similar definition of an officer for a partnership business or unincorporated association.

For enquiring the due diligence of the other organization such as KFC, an interview method has been conducted. For conducting an interview with the officer of the KFC, minimum one question about the responsibilities in due diligence of the officer of that organization has been asked. The single interview question is picked and selected from each of the six responsibilities of an officer described under section 27 of the Work Health and Safety Act. The interview has been conducted for determining whether KFC acts according to the Work Health and Safety Act or not. Based on the answers from the officer of the KFC, another set of questions would be asked about what he is thinking that would help him to follow the Act and the process, which he would follow for commanding over his workers to follow the Act. The interview will also put emphasis on the process, which the organization is following in response to due diligence, and how the organization has reached in the process about the concept of the due diligence.

Results of the interview

The results are based on the interview with an officer of the KFC organization that has been conducted for reaching the necessary understanding about the due diligence that the organization KFC is following or not. The results would be based on the interview. The interview will also provide the comparison between the Due Diligence of the officer of the KFC with the expectations of due diligence of the Australia law.

The result is showing that the organization KFC is not properly following the due diligence process.  The officer of the KFC stated that he is aware of the due diligence with health and safety obligations and the organization is following it. The work system is safe and it tries actively to monitor the health and safety management of the organization. According to the officer of the KFC, he is up-to-date of the health and safety matters at work. His organization takes necessary steps for minimizing the risks and the hazards and also the organization develops some strategies and necessary processes that will eliminate the hazards or the risks related to health and safety from the organization. However, the organization could not arrange any training program that would help the workers of the organization about work health and safety norms. Even, the organization could not have any structure that will provide training programs to the workers. They do not have any health and safety representatives.

According to the officer’s view, the due diligence is partly followed by this organization. However, the officer stated that the organization has some planning to start the training program soon and for fulfilling that, the training program has been structured and developed. The organization would appoint some representatives also.  The officer admitted that there is a lack of communication between the authority and the workers about the Work Health and Safety matters. However, the organization has taken strategy (the training program) that would help to eradicate the communication problem.

It is recommended to the organization KFC to follow strictly all the six due diligence under the section 27 of the Work Health and Safety Act, Australia for maintaining the health and safety matters at the workplace. Due diligence is the officer’s duty and responsibility of an organization that should be exercised efficiently. The organization KFC is lacking to fulfil all the due diligence mentioned in the Act. It is suggested to the organization to employ a training program that would enable the workers of the organization to develop an idea about the Work Health and Safety Act and the matters associated with it (Hale, Borys & Adams, 2015). The organization should organize an effective training program that would allow the workers to develop an idea about the work health and safety norms. The training program should be developed methodically and the officer should pay attention to individual worker and the knowledge they have gathered from the training program (Robson et al., 2012).

Conclusion

It can be concluded that the officer of any organization of Australia must exercise the Due Diligence and the legislative orders in the organization to avoid hazards related to the Work Health and Safety Act.  The chosen organization should provide all the aspects of the law to its workers and the organization should develop strategies to manage hazards related to health and safety matters in the workplace. It is recommended that the chosen organization should reinforce strategies for the fullest application of the Act.

References

Australia, S. W. (2012). Australian work health and safety strategy 2012-2022: Healthy, safe and productive working lives. Safe Work Australia.

Australia, S. W. (2015). Managing the Risks of Falls at Workplaces: Code of Practice. Safe Work Australia.

Hale, A., Borys, D., & Adams, M. (2015). Safety regulation: the lessons of workplace safety rule management for managing the regulatory burden. Safety science, 71, 112-122.

Lawrence, G. M. (2013). Due Diligence in Business Transactions. Law Journal Press.

Matsuura, H. (2016). Occupational Health and Safety. The Wiley Blackwell Encyclopedia of Gender and Sexuality Studies.

Reese, C. D. (2015). Occupational health and safety management: a practical approach. CRC press.

Robson, L. S., Stephenson, C. M., Schulte, P. A., Amick III, B. C., Irvin, E. L., Eggerth, D. E., ... & Peters, R. H. (2012). A systematic review of the effectiveness of occupational health and safety training. Scandinavian journal of work, environment & health, 193-208.

Safeworkaustralia.gov.au. (2017). Home. Safe Work Australia. Retrieved 23 September 2017, from https://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au

Stewart, A. (2013). Stewart's guide to employment law (Vol. 3). Sydney: Federation Press.

Zanko, M., & Dawson, P. (2012). Occupational health and safety management in organizations: A review. International Journal of Management Reviews, 14(3), 328-344.

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