{{ propApi.closeIcon }}
Our industry
Our industry $vuetify.icons.faArrowRight
Economic research and forecasting Economics Housing outlook Tailored market research Economic reports and data Inspiring Australia's building professionals HOUSING The only place to get your industry news Media releases Member alerts Submissions See all
Business support
Business support $vuetify.icons.faArrowRight
Become an apprentice host Hire an apprentice Why host a HIA apprentice? Apprentice partner program Builder and manufacturer program Industry insurance Construction legal expenses insurance Construction works insurance Home warranty insurance Tradies and tool insurance Planning and safety services Building and planning services How can HIA Safety help you? Independent site inspections Solutions for your business Contracts Online HIA Tradepass HIA SafeScan HR Docs Trusted legal support Legal advice and guidance Professional services Industrial relations
Resources & advice
Resources & advice $vuetify.icons.faArrowRight
Building it right Building codes Australian standards Getting it right on site See all Building materials and products Concrete, bricks and walls Getting products approved Use the right products for the job See all Managing your business Dealing with contracts Handling disputes Managing your employees See all Managing your safety Falls from heights Safety rules Working with silica See all Building your business Growing your business Maintaining your business See all Other subjects COVID-19 Getting approval to build Sustainable homes
Careers & learning
Careers & learning $vuetify.icons.faArrowRight
A rewarding career Become an apprentice Apprenticeships on offer Hear what our apprentices say Advice for parents and guardians Study with us Find a course Get your builder's licence Learn with HIA
HIA community
HIA community $vuetify.icons.faArrowRight
Join HIA Sign me up How do I become a member? What's in it for me? Get involved Become an award judge Join a committee Partner with us Get to know us Our members Our people Our partners Mates rates What we do Mental health program Charitable Foundation GreenSmart
Awards & events
Awards & events $vuetify.icons.faArrowRight
Awards Australian Housing Awards Awards program National Conference Industry networking Events
HIA products
HIA products $vuetify.icons.faArrowRight
Shop @ HIA Digital Australian Standards Contracts Online Shipping and delivery Purchasing terms & conditions Products Building codes and standards Hard copy contracts Guides and manuals Safety and signage See all
About Contact Newsroom
$vuetify.icons.faMapMarker Set my location Use the field below to update your location
Change location
{{propApi.text}} {{region}} Change location
{{propApi.successMessage}} {{region}} Change location

$vuetify.icons.faPhone1300 650 620

Due diligence for officers

One of the key changes relating to the new Work Health and Safety Act 2020 (WHS Act) requires officers to exercise ‘due diligence’.

How has ‘due diligence’ changed the law in WA?

If you are an officer, you will need to be proactive in making sure that the business is meeting its work, health and safety obligations. 

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1984, officers could be held personally liable if the company was found guilty of breaching their safety obligations and it was proved that the breach happened with the consent or was attributable to the negligence of an officer.

Now, there is a positive duty to meet due diligence requirements, regardless of whether there is a breach. This means you will need to have evidence to show you are meeting your obligations (e.g. if you are audited) and risk prosecution (personally) if you are unable to demonstrate due diligence.

Are you an officer?

WHS Act defines ‘officer’ to have almost the same meaning as it does in the Corporations Act 2001. This means you are an officer if (among other things):

  • you are a director or secretary of your company; or
  • you are making or participating in making decisions that affect the whole or a substantial part of the business; or
  • you have the capacity to affect significantly the business’s financial standing;
  • the directors of the company are accustomed to acting in accordance with your instructions or wishes;
  • you are a trustee or a person administering an arrangement between a company and someone else.

What is due diligence?

If you are an officer of a person conducting a business or undertaking, you need to be aware that the new WHS Act provides that due diligence includes taking reasonable steps to:

  • acquire and update your knowledge of health and safety matters; and
  • understand the operations being carried out by the business and the associated risks and hazards; and
  • ensure the business has, and uses, appropriate resources and processes to eliminate or minimise health and safety risks arising from the work being done; and
  • ensure the business has appropriate processes in place to receive and respond promptly to information regarding incidents, hazards and risks; and
  • ensure the business has, and uses, processes for complying with duties or obligations under the WHS Act.

You also need to ensure you can verify the provision and use of the resources and processes you have in place for complying with your due diligence obligations.

Read more information about the health and safety duty of an officer.

Share with your network:

More articles on:

{{ tag.label }} {{ tag.label }} $vuetify.icons.faTimes
Find guides, how-tos, resources and more