18 June 2018
"Do Everything for me Please"
"Do everything for me please, I don't have the time to do it and I need to make sure that I am compliant..." This is the statement I hear often and it leads to the question exactly what is the limit of the support I provide a client. Can I do everything for them, or is there a limit?
Company directors are 'Officers' under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 (HSWA). This applies to small to medium companies as much as it does to larger ones. Regardless of size, the due dilgence requirements are the same. All that differs is the mechanisims in place to enable the Officer to meet their due diligence obligations. For small to medium companies, this burden often falls onto the shoulders of the business owner or that unlucky person they appoint as their Health and Safety Coordinator.....if they appoint one. Small to medium business often lack the capacity to undertake the due diligence functions in-house, which is why companies like mine, Hauraki Safety and HR, are engaged to provide this support.
The business owner needs to focus on the running of their business and safety compliance becomes just another burden that makes their working day just that little bit longer and more difficult. The need to be compliant does not go away, nor does the need to turn a positive bottom line. So having someone external provide the support makes sense. But what is the limit of this support?
The HSWA is clear. Obligations imposed on a person under the Act cannot be delegated and remain the sole responsibility of the individual on whom the obligations are imposed. This means that 'Officers' must fulfil their due diligence requirements and not another person whom they appoint, delgate or engage. This automatically means that safety service providers are legally unable to '...do everything...' for the business owner.
What they can do is support the business owner to meet their due dilgence requirements. They can gather the information and undertake those risk management and assurance activities needed to provide business owners assurance that risks are eliminated so far as is reasonably practicable or minimised so far as is reaqsonably practicable. But, and this is a big but, they cannot allocate company resources, they cannot decide on risk ownership, nor can they make decisions around risk management and the outcome from assurance activities.
So, legally a safety service provider cannot do everything, the practicality of business governance also removes this possibility. So the limit is clear. A safety service provider can support an officer by undertaking the monitoring, assurance and reporting activities needed, but the decision making and the requirement to know and understand the risks of the business remain the responsibility of the business owner as the officer.
Hauraki Safety and HR provides support to small to medium businesses to understand and manage their risk and to meet their due diligence requirements. We deliver simple safety and HR solutions that provides you confidence that your safety and HR is being managed, giving you the freedom to focus on what you do best.
If I can be of assistance don't hesitate to contact me.
The latest estimate for failure to adequately address safety concerns globally has been put at 3.9% of the global GDP. In dollar terms that is US$2.99 Trillion.