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HR Tactics Newsletter - 2017 March

Welcome to our 1st HR Tactics newsletter!

Do you own or manage an small / medium business (SME)? We are pleased to present our new monthly HR Tactics newsletter with articles written expressly for you - SME owners and managers who are looking for plain English practical HR advice or assistance across the hiring, managing and firing aspects of running your business.

HR Tactics Aim
Ultimately, we are here to assist you to keep the doors to your business open by:
- advising how to avoid costly legal claims before things go wrong, and
- assisting you to create and build an all-star team of employees who can drive your business success.

As a subscriber, you will receive:
To achieve this aim, our newsletters will be filled with practical, easy to implement, cost effective solutions that you can implement in your business tomorrow (or today even) and updates on your legal obligations as an employer of staff under the Fair Work Act and WHS Act.

This months newsletter topic:

What are my basic obligations under the WHS Act

Did you know: As an employer, you can be prosecuted for failing to ensure a safe workplace even when no accident or injury occurs.

The prosecution does not have to prove that anyone was actually injured, only that an injury or incident could have occurred. So it is not enough that the plant, substance or structure for example, is safe in its current capacity - the employer must consider any future foreseeable use and take reasonable steps to ensure that such use is safe.

Primary Duty of Care
In Australia, employers have a primary duty of care under health and safety legislation to ensure, as far as reasonably practicable, that workers are not exposed to risks of work-related harm.
This duty requires you to eliminate (or at least minimise) risks to health and safety when reasonably practicable.

Other Duties
Other duties employers must ensure are met include:

  • not recklessly engaging in conduct that puts a person in danger of serious injury or death.
  • having a safety management system in place
  • notifying the relevant safety regulator of accidents and incidents in the workplace;
  • keeping appropriate health and safety records;
  • consulting with workers on health and safety issues and, in some circumstances, appointing a health and safety representative (HSR) and a health and safety committee; and
  • cooperating with inspectors from the health and safety regulator.
Penalties for breaching your duties

  • You can be penalised if you are found to have:
  • breached your primary duty of care; or
  • engaged in reckless conduct.
The maximum penalties that apply for a breach of your primary duty is shown in the following table:
Queensland Penalty
Work Health and Safety Act A fine of up to $1,500,000.

The maximum penalties that apply for reckless endangerment is shown in the following table:
Queensland Penalty
Work Health and Safety Act A fine of up to $3 million.

You need to develop and implement an effective safety management system. On the face of it, that sounds arduous and costly, however the safety management system that is right for your business will depend on the size and nature of your business. So for many SME's it doesn't need to be overly arduous and costly.

HR Tactics is committed to assisting SME's to develop your own tailored safety management system, so contact us to discuss how to get started and be ready to learn more in our upcoming newsletters.

Our next 7 newsletters will go into detail about the 7 steps involved in implementing an effective safety management system. These 7 steps are:
Step 1: Put a safety plan in place
Step 2: Set up a system for consultation with your workers
Step 3: Develop hazard identification and risk management processes
Step 4: Have written policies and procedures
Step 5: Provide all workers with proper training and induction
Step 6: Supervise your workers
Step 7: Monitor your workplace for safety compliance

In the meantime, please put your and your worker's safety first and contact us at any time for a free consultation.

Know someone who owns or manages an SME (60 or less employees)? Do they need advice or assistance with the hiring, managing and firing activities in their business? If you do, then please forward this and future HR Tactics newsletters to them.

If you have been forwarded this newsletter by a colleague or friend, and would like to sign up to our newsletter mailing list directly, send us your email address by clicking on this link

Jackie Strachan
0406 146 116