Different Duty of Care Requirements dependent on your Obligations under the OSH Legislation

During our everyday SOS-Switched Onto Safety business activities we see good things and bad things (and everything in between) in relation to Occupational Safety and Health. We actually say in our business when we are not ‘on duty’ we have to wear our ‘blinkers’.

It was interesting to read that over the past financial year, WorkSafe WA have as a part of their proactive inspection program been looking at commercial property owners and property managers. This program had been instigated by a growing awareness by inspectors that commercial owners and property managers may not understand all their obligations, I would suggest from things ‘good’ and ‘bad’ they were seeing out there.

We (SOS-Switched Onto Safety) are very aware of the Duty of Care requirements relating to Commercial Property Owners and Property Managers as we have on numerous occasions provided OSH services on behalf of such organisations to assist them in meeting their Duty of Care requirements. So we were very interested in what WorkSafe WA had found.

WorkSafe WA identified:

Commercial Property owners and property managers were not always aware of their duties under the Occupational Safety and Health legislation as persons in control of workplaces.

Concerns emerged in a couple of areas where hazards may lead to people being seriously injured or killed.

Generally, they found, that they were not aware that they had a responsibility to ensure safe movement of vehicles and mobile plant, particularly in common delivery areas and loading docks. Even though owners and managers may have no involvement in work activity being done at their premises, but if some control is retained, then a duty applies to minimise risks to workers.

There are many other areas where control – and hence a duty- may exist including safe access to the roof, lighting, entrances and exits, emergency planning, footpaths, stairways, shared delivery areas, common foyers and gardens and elevators and escalators as examples.

As can be seen here, it is very important that all organisations (micro through to large) as a part of their business management identify in detail what their responsibilities are in relation to OSH Legislation. If you are unsure it is wise to seek advice / assistance in this area. We don’t say this just from a legal perspective but also from a moral perspective. The safety of all personnel whether they be employees, contractors, public etc should be a major consideration so that as we say in SOS, everyone gets to go home to their family and / or friends safe and sound each day.

Currently the proactive inspection program that WorkSafe are currently conducting are in the following industries:

  • Pubs, taverns and bars.
  • Takeaway food industry.
  • Plant and mobile plant movement in the retail and transport industry.

If you do feel you need any assistance in these areas, please feel free to contact us to see how we can assist you.