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Individual Liability for Senior Officers

Posted on 31 October, 2019 at 18:40 Comments comments (210)

Are you actively demonstrating Due Diligence within your teams?

On the eve of the first prosecution under Industrial Manslaughter laws introduced just under two years ago in Queensland, it is timely for all employers and leaders in all levels of industry to consider their duty of care.

A media release from the Minister for Education and Minister for Industrial Relations The Honourable Grace Grace published on October 25th 2019 outlined the first for Queensland as the Work Health and Safety Prosecutor commenced a prosecution against Brisbane Auto Recycling Pty Ltd for industrial manslaughter under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011. The workplace fatality occurred at Brisbane Auto Recycling on Friday 17 May 2019, when a worker was tragically killed after being struck by a reversing forklift at wrecking yard in Rocklea. With separate charges made against the company directors, Asadullah Hussaini and Mohammad Ali Jan Karimi, for engaging in reckless conduct that resulted in the death of a worker, all ‘senior officers’ in the workplace should be considering their own personal liability under the statue law.

The broad definition of an ‘senior officer’ is a person who makes, or participates in making, decisions that affect the whole, or a substantial part, of the organisation’s activities. The use of the term ‘senior officer’ for the industrial manslaughter offence is intended to capture individuals of the highest levels in an organisation as these leaders can create and influence safety management and culture at their workplace.

Where a PCBU, or senior officer, commits industrial manslaughter, a maximum penalty of 20 years imprisonment for an individual, or $10M for a body corporate, applies. This first prosecution demonstrates clearly the individual liability and responsibilities of workplace leaders.

How are you as an senior officer in the workplace ensuring that robust risk management practices are in place and being implemented in operations?

How are you as an senior officer in Business fulfilling your duty of care and demonstrating Due Diligence in your role?

Due diligence includes personally taking reasonable steps to:

  • acquire and keep current information on work health and safety matters
  • understand the nature and operations of the work and associated hazards and risks
  • ensure the PCBU has, and uses, appropriate resources and processes to eliminate or reduce risks to health and safety
  • ensure the PCBU has appropriate processes to receive and consider information about incidents, hazards and risks, and to respond in a timely manner
  • ensure the PCBU has, and implements, processes for complying with their duties and obligations (e.g. reports notifiable incidents,
  • consults with workers, complies with notices, provides training and instruction and ensures HSRs receive training entitlements).

Contractor management and labor hire arrangements provide additional challenges for ‘senior officers’ in any workplace. When your teams are operating under the systems of a third party or client how are you ensuring their safety? How are you ensuring your workers are in a safe environment with the right tools, training and supervision to give them the best opportunity to return home to their loved ones after a day’s work?

If you haven’t internally audited your business, your teams and your process how can you be sure of your compliance under law? Compliance is not about looking good on paper with the Rolls Royce of management systems and no real demonstration of implementation in an operational sense. Senior Officers need to demonstrate and prove their systems and their principals behind management of risk in the workplace.

Compliance for best practice PCBU’s exists as a living breathing continuous improvement methodology ingrained within their teams, it is demonstrated by open communication between workers and leaders promoting a positive reporting culture, implementation of a solutions often behavioral based safety model that empowers workers and encourages them to challenge process when they feel unsafe. Senior Officers need to be engaged in consultation across all roles in the business and document it, they must have a sound appreciation for the tasks being undertaken, the skills required, the risks present and the risk management principles being applied. Moreover they need to demonstrate that they are involved, they need to walk the talk, they need to be present which begs the question of how you can be present when you aren’t where your workers are?

Today, as a ‘Senior Officer’ is your day to consider how present you are within your teams remembering that you can be present without being in the same physical location, how do you effectively consult with your workers. How are you implementing and monitoring risk management principals in your workplace and how aware are you of what is truly going in all operational areas of your workflows or service provision. Do you have the resources you need and the systems in place to provide the best opportunity not only for operational excellence in production or service for the success of the business in a commercial sense, also to ensure that every member of your team returns safely to their loved ones at the end of each working day.

Challenge your risk methodology, engage expertise both internally and externally of your business to promote an environment of continuous improvement and open consultation. Seek resources to add value to your process where needed or to challenge your systems with a fresh set of eyes. In Queensland we hold PCBU’s and Officers to the highest standards, the individual liability has never been greater, the moral sensibility remains the same. Every worker deserves to go home safely at the end of each working day, how are you going to ensure that your workers do today?

Gladstone Major Industry Conference

Posted on 29 October, 2014 at 19:15 Comments comments (100)

I was honored last week to MC the Gladstone Engineering Alliance Major Industry Conference in Gladstone (22nd-23rd of October). MC was a new experience for me having presented as a keynote speaker earlier in 2014 at the Gladstone Safety Expo and participating in a panel discussion in April of this year in Townsville.

I was both humbled and flattered with the incredible feedback I recieved over the course of the conference and the Industry Gala dinner. I look forward to future opportunities to both keynote and MC at other primary industry and motivational events.




Happy 1st Birthday OHS72!

Posted on 2 October, 2014 at 17:10 Comments comments (0)


Today we celebrate our first birthday!

We've been looking forward to this milestone for a few weeks and have found ourselves reflecting on the year that was. We are feeling quite humble and very lucky as we realise many new consultancies do not hit this milestone.

Here are some of the most satisfying outcomes OHS72 has achieved in our first year....

• OHS72 has assisted two Gladstone regional businesses through document development and audit process achieve AS4801 certification.

• OHS72 has provided Gap Audit and policy and procedure development to a local community organisation to achieve best practice and assist in future funding applications.

• OHS72 has completed a short term contract with a Gladstone Civil Contractor to overhaul their primary policy documents and assist in tender document development and training outcomes.

• OHS72 successfully won our first Brisbane client and has developed primary documents and risk management process for an Underground Service Locator.

• OHS72 has facilitated for two Gladstone based Registered Training Organisations and has trained over 100 local Health and Safety Representatives, upgraded the WHS skills of nearly 50 local managers and also provided Asbestos Awareness and SARC training for local business.

• OHS72's Nicola Kelbie presented at as a keynote speaker at the Gladstone Safety Expo on Rehabilitation Management.

• OHS72 is currently developing online webinar modules to enable individuals and employers to access WHS training via the internet.

In the coming months you will see OHS72 in the limelight again with Nicola Kelbie proudly presenting the Gladstone Engineering Alliance (GEA) Major Industry Conference as Master of Ceremonies later in October.

We have also partnered with the GEA to facilitate two free workshops for local business on Rehabilitation Management and Risk Management (see the GEA website to register ).

Thank you to all of our wonderful clients and supporters, without your positive feedback and word of mouth recommendations much of this would likely not have been a reality, we look forward to supporting your business in maintaining best practice standards into the future.

Now it's time to look forward to the year ahead continuing our commitment to provide personal, professional services throughout Queensland and beyond for all of your Workplace Safety, Occupational Health and Rehabilitation Management needs.


Gladstone Safety Expo

Posted on 12 March, 2014 at 20:10 Comments comments (0)

Come and join me at the Gladstone Safety Expo on Friday the 21st of March, details below :)

The Mining Advocate

Posted on 14 January, 2014 at 22:25 Comments comments (93)

OHS72 owner/director Nicola Kelbie features in an article published in the current issue of The Mining Advocate. Nicola provided comments on local industry and government workshops that are helping small to medium sized buisness enhance their OHS systems and capabilites in order to tender for large contracts - follow this link to view the full publication and the article:

Fatality reports published (

Posted on 17 November, 2013 at 19:20 Comments comments (150)

Please see below media release from the Safe Work Australia Website. This media release and published reports highlights the particular need to assess risks of falls in the workplace with 232 workers dying following a fall from height over the eight years from 2003 to 2011.

Consider your fall risks and your controls, are they suitable and in accordance with the harmonised legislation? For a falls risk survey or to review and revamp your procedures and controls relating to working at heights call OHS72 today.


31 October 2013

Fatality reports published

Safe Work Australia CEO Rex Hoy today announced the release of two reports examining fatalities due to work-related traumatic injury and injuries and fatalities arising from falls from height.

The first report Work-related injuries and fatalities involving a fall from height, Australia shows there has been no improvement in the number of workers killed each year due to falls from height with 232 workers dying following a fall from height over the eight years from 2003 to 2011.

“This latest report shows more needs to be done to prevent workers falling from heights particularly in the construction industry,” said Mr Hoy.

The construction industry accounted for one third of falls-related fatalities in the last four years. Many of the fatalities involved house construction workers particularly painters and roofers.

One-third of the workers fell to their death from a ladder, with falls from vehicles and roofs also prominent in the data.

“These figures show why the construction industry was identified as a priority for prevention activities in the Australian Work Health and Safety Strategy 2012-2022.”

“It is important for all workers to make safety a focus in their day to day work,” said Mr Hoy.

In addition to the high number of fatalities due to falls, 21 workers lodged a workers’ compensation claim each day for a falls-related injury and required one or more weeks off work. A typical claim saw the worker off work for over six weeks.

“This is a considerable loss of productivity and employers should be ensuring workers have the correct safety equipment for the task,” said Mr Hoy.

“Falls-related incidents also place a considerable burden on our health system with nearly one in ten of the workers who were hospitalised in the 2006 to 2009 period admitted with injuries due to a fall from height.”

The second report released today Work-related traumatic injury fatalities Australia 2012 showed there has been no change in the total number of workers killed in the last two years. While falls from height accounted for 13 percent of worker deaths in 2012, there were three times as many deaths due to a vehicle crash.

Over the past ten years two-thirds of all fatalities involved a vehicle in some way. In 2012, 40 truck drivers and 26 workers in cars died while working.

Mr Hoy said Safe Work Australia is working with work health and safety authorities to achieve a 20 percent reduction in the number of work-related fatalities by 2022.

The full reports and more information about traumatic injuries and fatalities resulting from falls are available from the Safe Work Australia website.


Safe Work Australia Month

Posted on 24 October, 2013 at 17:40 Comments comments (1)

Being a Safety Ambassador is committing to raise awareness of health and safety in your workplace during October, Safe Work Australia Month. Through this commitment you are helping to achieve the vision of healthy, safe and productive working lives for Australian workers.

A Safety Ambassador for the last four years I enjoy having the opportunity to share with a wider audience my passion for continuous improvement for Workplace Safety and Occupational Health in industry. Below is my safety moment direct from the Safe Work Australia website.

“Safety is a frame of mind - the choises we make and behaviours we display in the workplace can often be our last line of defence to prevent injuries. Ensuring your mind is on the task at hand and that you have good situational awareness of activities around you weather they be vehicle movements or other workers in close proximity.

Consider the bigger picture to manage interfaces, are you putting other workers above, below or close by at risk by your actions or perhaps they are creating a risk to you and your team by theirs. Strong communication and positive safety behaviours help to ensure you go home to your most important reason every day.”

This month I want you to consider what your most important reason is for being safe at work. Mine is the beautiful beaches of Rainbow in Queensland as pictured on our home page. Lazy days and crystal blue waters, time seems to stand still when I'm there and I'm never more relaxed and content.

Have a look at the Safe Work Australia website for reasources and the expansive list of champions that have joined me in registering to be Safety Ambassadors for 2013 ;

Warm regards,

Nicola Kelbie