Officers’ Due Diligence : A glimpse of the future Western Australia

Officers’ Due Diligence:

  • Is a proactive duty and is part & parcel of leadership,
  • Is a duty imposed on officers personally,
  • It is a duty to put in a corporate governance regime and can be breached for merely failing to do so.

Primary Duty of Care –  Applies to those

  • For whom the work is being done
  • Are providing or contributing to the things that enable work to be done
  • Provide the workplace
  • Contribute to the process by which work is done
  • Provide health and safety specific service

Who is an Officer?

  • A director or secretary of the corporation
  • A person who makes or participates in making decisions that affect the whole or a substantial part of the business of the corporation
  • A person who has the capacity to affect significantly the corporation’s financial standing
  • A person, upon whose instructions or wishes the directors of the corporation are accustomed to act

Officers must understand  OHS Business Risks

  • Core business Operational hazards & risks
  • Knowledge of legal obligations for high risk “Regulated” Processes
  • Manage Changes
  • Verification of compliance for Regulated Processes
  • Major Hazards – Leading to risks with high consequences
  • Low Consequence High Frequency risk profile – Over emphasised in SMS and are not a focus for Officer due Diligence requirements (e.g. slips and trips)

Safety Performance Reporting

  • Trends and emerging issues requiring intervention
  • Free lessons from Potential Fatality Events
  • Specific Safety Performance reports
  • Proactive compliance with safety obligations

Legal Compliance

  • Develop and implement processes for complying with any legal requirements
  • Verification of legal compliance via audit is necessary in order to exercise due diligence
  • Compliance with AS/NZS 4801:2001 does not prove that legal compliance has been achieved

Incidents, Hazards & Risks

  • Receiving and analysing information to identify deficiencies or failings in existing risk management that need to be addressed
  • Constantly monitor hazards and risks as they arise – Lead and lag indicators
  • Ensure that there are processes for responding in a timely way to information

The duty of officers requires more than providing systems.

  • It requires verifying the implementation of those systems.
  • Such verification is partly fulfilled through commissioning and monitoring safety audits.
  •  The duty requires the personal involvement of officers
  •  Practices such as senior executive participation in safety observations and audits is an example of personal involvement.

Due Diligence is about Safety Leadership

  • It is not a duty which can be delegated.
  • Requires officers to make it a personal responsibility for their organisation’s safety performance.


Senior executives know when production is down, when budgets are blown and when schedules are overrun.

Why don’t they know when Major Risks are not being controlled?

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