OSHEM Solutions | Learnings from a Mobile Plant Related Fatality & Dual Prosecution

Learnings from a Mobile Plant Related Fatality & Dual Prosecution

Learnings from a Mobile Plant Related Fatality & Dual Prosecution

The Incident

On the 5th December 2005 at approximately 3:15am, a truck driver stood beside the forklift that was loading steel modules full of live chickens onto his truck, directing its operator as to where to place these modules. During the loading process, one of the 550kg steel modules already loaded, fell from its position and struck the truck driver, killing him.

The Relationships

Baiada Poultry Pty Ltd, a well known, Australian-owned company owns and operates the poultry farms and processing plants. The truck driver, killed in the incident was a sub-contractor to this poultry company. The forklift driver was also employed by a sub-contracted company, DMP Poultech Pty Ltd, which carries out a range of activities on behalf of Baiada, including catching chickens and loading them.

The Prosecutions

As a result of the incident WorkSafe Victoria filed prosecutions against Baiada and DMP Poultech. DMP Poultech pleaded guilty and received a prosecution and $400,000 fine on 17th April 2008. Baiada pleaded not guilty on the 14th May 2008 and went to trial. Baiada was recently convicted and fined $100,000.

What Went Wrong

Like in any incident, there are several causes / contributing factors behind this case.

  • There was no process to ensure truck drivers (or other pedestrians for that matter) were separated from the operation of the mobile plant.
  • The 16 year old operating the mobile plant on behalf of DMP Poultech, and ultimately Baiada, was unlicensed and not under the supervision of a licensed operator.
  • To minimise stress on the chickens, the loading took part at 3am with the only lights to work by, being those on the forklift and truck.

Opportunities Lost

No doubt this incident has had tragic consequences on numerous lives including families and employees from each of the 3 companies involved. What makes it worse it that, not only was it foreseeable, there had been incidents in the past from which the company(s) could have learned.

During the case, the WorkSafe prosecutors alleged that the company was aware of the risks involved because of a past, similar incident but that it failed to implement the necessary controls to protect the driver. Furthermore, included in Work Safe’s list of prosecutions is an incident from the 25th August 2003 where a truck driver visiting a Baiada site was struck by a pallet falling from a forklift and received various injuries including a fractured wrist. Whilst this incident was not under the same circumstances, in its prosecution Work Safe pointed to inadequate traffic management and pedestrian separation as the cause.


Whilst tragic, this incident provides an opportunity for all others to review their practices and related risk:

Separation of persons from mobile plant is a necessity to ensure its safe operation.

Where young and/or workers in training are undertaking hazardous tasks, adequate supervision must be provided.

When assessing the risk associated with activities, it is crucial to consider environmental factors (e.g. light) and the different conditions under which the work will be carried out. Had this story been played out during the middle of the day, it may have had a different ending.

Sub-contracting work does not diminish responsibility for ensuring safe work practices.

For more information…

For more information on this incident, visit Work Safe Victoria’s web site.

If you’d like some assistance developing traffic management plans, assessing the risk of your activities, conducting work incident investigations or anything else related to this article, contact us.

OSHEM Solutions | Management Review

Management Review

Management Review

According to ISO 9001 Quality Management Systems, the purpose of management review is to ensure a management system’s continued “suitability, adequacy and effectiveness”.

It is the step in the cycle where the custodians of the system reflect on the performance thus far and determine if there are any additional opportunities for improvement to be gained. Unlike the tweaks that are made throughout other parts of the cycle, management review can often drive fundamental changes to the system as a whole, including changes to the organisation’s policy and often to its objectives.

Common Misconception

Unfortunately, management review is a process which is often misunderstood by the managers’ who own an Environmental (EMS) or Occupational Health & Safety Management System (OHSMS). In fact many OH&S and Environmental professionals struggle with its purpose.

A common pitfall is confusing ‘checking’ activities such as inspections and audits with management review. Another is confusing routine management meetings with a system review. All of these activities make up what is known as ‘monitoring’. Their intent is to ensure that the organisation is doing all the things it says it does. Whilst monitoring is a vital component of an environmental / OH&S Management System, it is not Management Review. More on Monitoring in future instalments.

Management Review Scoping

The specifics of management review will vary from organisation to organisation. Everything from the nature of the business to the geographic spread of operations will affect the process. Other issues to consider is the scope of the management system (e.g. OHS Management System, Environmental Management System, Integrated Systems etc), total employee numbers, size of the management team and the roles played by various persons.

The organisations objectives and how they are measured also affect management review. Some organisations have particular metrics they must keep as part of legal compliance, industry best practice or head office requirements. All these and other forms of data are inputs for management review.

Regardless of these differences, it is necessary for those conducting management review to ensure they plan and scope the process to focus on the key objective of management review, being determining the system’s suitability, adequacy and effectiveness.


Having the required properties for the task


Having the quality and/or resources for the task


Producing (or at least capable) of producing the desired effect

The Clock Analogy

Part of the key role of OSHEM Solutions consultants is assisting senior management to understand their roles in managing their organisation’s OHS & environmental risk and championing their management system. We find that our clock analogy assists in this process and would like to share it with you as a final method of clarification.

Monitoring activities such as inspections, audits, testing of equipment, safety observations and even the meetings where statistics or progress against plans are discussed are like checking a clock. They are used to see if we are still running on time with the intent of reaching our goal.

Management Review is a much higher order process. It’s about considering the findings of all those ‘clock checking’ activities, not solely for the purpose of determining if we have ran the race on time but also to ask whether the clock is the best tool for the organisation. Perhaps a watch would be better? What kind of watch? Could we use an integrated tool such as the clock on our mobile phone or even our laptop?

Need Further Information?

OSHEM Solutions is an Environmental Management and OHS Consultancy which assists our clients in planning, implementing, monitoring and reviewing their management system. If you would like more information on how we can provide your organisation with expert assistance, please contact us.

OSHEM Solutions | Management System Planning

Management System Planning

Management System Planning

Planning is the subject of many sage quotes but arguably none so well known as “failing to plan, is planning to fail”. It is unclear who first said this but from our experience it is as true today as it ever was.

Planning Cycle

Within the management system context (whether occupational health & safety [OHSMS], environmental [EMS] or quality [QMS]) planning is the first phase of the continuous ‘plan-do-check-act’ cycle.

Plans are made:

  • Before the management system is developed,
  • As part of the system development,
  • To manage communication and consultation,
  • To ensure implementation,
  • And otherwise throughout its life to ensure continuous improvement.

What to Plan?

Unfortunately this is one of those questions with a, less than helpful, “it depends” answer; with the variable being primary focused on the maturity of the system.

No Management System

If an organisation has no form of management system then the need for a system, as well as its size, purpose, structure and so on, all have to be determined. In this case the planning activities should focus on information gathering, stakeholder engagement and design specifications.

New Management System

Assuming the organisation has some form of management system, planning should focus on identifying those areas that require further development, as well as ensuring the effective implementation of existing elements.

According to OSHEM Solutions’ Peter Gaul, these plans should be linked to risk. “It is very easy for organisations to get caught up in fads or those things they see competitors or other organisations focusing on. It is crucial that management system plans aim to continually reduce business risk and that management keep a focus on managing what matters in their business.”

Mature Management System

Organisations with a mature environmental and/or OHS management system know that planning is about achieving objectives and continuous improvement. These organisations have a strong planning culture and use a combination of performance measures and corrective / preventative action to ensure they succeed.

Need Assistance?

OSHEM Solutions provides a range of Occupational Health, Safety (OHSMS) and Environmental Management System (EMS) planning Services. Whether your organisation is considering developing an Environmental and/or OHS Management System, wishes to further implement policies and procedures or wanting to upgrade, integrate or seek certification of your system, we have highly qualified Environmental and OHS Consultants who can assist.

Contact us for an obligation free discussion on how we can assist you in improving your planning processes and ultimately your OH&S and Environmental performance.

OSHEM Solutions | Emergency Preparedness & Response

Emergency Preparedness & Response

Emergency Preparedness & Response

Most organisations recognise the need to plan for and even rehearse emergency response. If you were to conduct an environmental or safety audit of one of these organisations, they would provide you with procedures, flowcharts, emergency contact telephone numbers and evidence of evacuation drills.

The Insignificant Few

However, in the vast majority of cases all preparedness activities are focused on one or two emergency scenarios, typically fire and bomb threat. This is an interesting situation because, for most organisations, these scenarios are neither the most likely nor the most significant emergencies they are likely to face. So what should they be managing?

The Forgotten Emergencies

An obvious example which is often overlooked is a serious medical emergency. Whether through injury or illness, the emergency treatment of employee, contractor or visitor is probably a scenario relevant to most organisations. All workplaces in Australia are required to take a risk approach to assessing their first aid resourcing, however many leave it at that. The majority of their first aiders get no opportunity to put their skills to use outside of the practical assessment they undertake as part of their training course and first aiders play little to no role in most emergency drills.

This is just one example. There are many other scenarios not seriously considered by most organisations.

It is equally important that organisations do not indiscriminately plan for every conceivable situation but instead to determine what potential emergencies deserve a share of the company’s limited resources.

Risk Management Approach

OSHEM Solutions advocates that clients adopt a risk management approach to their emergency preparedness. This means identifying all possible emergency scenarios, then using a risk assessment to decide which are relevant and require additional controls, possibly including response procedures and rehearsal, and which are less relevant and therefore do not justify the need for further attention at this time. Depending upon the nature and complexity of the operation, this process can be carried out using internal resources or through an external facilitator like and OSHEM Solutions consultant.

By undertaking such an approach, not only does the organisation demonstrate a systematic and proactive approach to emergency preparedness and response but it also further develops a risk management “manage what matters” culture.

Need Assistance?

OSHEM Solutions provides a range of Environmental & Safety Risk Management services. To read more click on Services. Or Contact us for an obligation free discussion on how we can assist your organisation manage its emergency response.

OSHEM Solutions | Environmental and OHS Inspections | 5 Tips for Developing an Effective Checklist

Environmental and OHS Inspections | 5 Tips for Developing an Effective Checklist

Environmental and OHS Inspections | 5 Tips for Developing an Effective Checklist

Purpose of Inspection

How do you know that your organisation is actually doing the things you say you do if you don’t check?

Inspections play an important checking or ‘monitoring’ role within quality, environmental and OHS management systems. Inspection is also a widely used method to monitor the implementation and effectiveness of risk controls.

Within mature organisations, inspections are utilised in variety of circumstances. Two examples include plant & equipment inspections and work area inspections.

Plant and Equipment Inspections

Plant and equipment is inspected:

  • To ensure it meets requirements before it is accepted on site,
  • As part of routine maintenance, to ensure it functions correctly and remains free from unsafe wear,
  • To ensure it is in a fit for use condition (e.g. forklift pre-start checks, safety harness pre-use inspection),
  • To ensure it is undamaged after a potentially damaging event (e.g. after dropping a ladder or gas detection monitor),
  • Periodically throughout its life to ensure it remains in a legally acceptable condition (e.g. pressure vessels, electrical leads).

Work Areas Inspections

Work areas are inspected:

  • By safety committees and/or risk assessment teams to identify hazards,
  • By maintenance personnel or technicians to ensure equipment is functioning correctly and is free from signs of wear or damage,
  • By supervisor to ensure controls are in place (e.g. guarding or bunding) and housekeeping is maintained,
  • By management to ensure continued compliance with management system requirements, safe work procedures etc, as well as to observe the behaviours of personnel.

Preparation and Planning

To ensure the most value out of Environmental, Quality or OHS inspections it is important that inspectors can easily identify and record what does and doesn’t meet requirements. A good part of this comes from training and experience but a well developed checklist will dramatically improve the output of these inspections.

5 Tips for Developing Inspection Checklists

1) Target Key Areas of Risk

This comes back to the philosophy of managing what matters. All organisations have limited resources and good business sense (plus relevant legislation) says these resources should be deployed to act on key areas of risk.

After all inspections are administrative controls designed to manage and monitor risk. If you don’t have a risk assessment (or legal compliance requirement) that justifies the need for an inspection, then why would you do one?

2) Inspections Verify Controls

Some organisations confuse the hazard prompts on risk assessment templates with an inspection checklist. Sure, hazards are often found during an inspection but its primary purpose is to verify and monitor existing controls.

For example, a plant and equipment risk assessment might read “Entanglement, Sharp Edges, Noise” etc but an inspection would more likely read “Is guarding in place over all nip points?, Is the revolving light functioning?, Is the reverse alarm functioning?” etc.

3) Ensure checklists are written in plain language

It is no good to write “points of emergency egress are free from obstructions” when what you mean is “emergency exits are clear”. It may seem obvious but there is something that goes on in the human brain when it is asked to put thoughts into words, particularly when those words make up a formal document. One method of ensuring your checklists use plain language is to simply write the check as you would say it to someone, “Mark, can you go down into the warehouse and check if all the convex mirrors are clean?” translates to a form which would read “Are all convex mirrors clean”.

4) Is positive positive or is negative positive?

Avoid switching between negative and positive questions. For example, don’t have check 1 written as “All emergency stop buttons are free from dust and easy identified” (where ‘Yes’ is obviously the desired state) and then have question 2 read “One or more guards are removed from machinery” (where ‘No’ is the answer you would hope for).

Checklists that mix positive and negative are sometimes used on purpose to “make sure people are awake” and not just “ticking and flicking”. The problem is that you are likely to receive a higher portion of false negatives or false positives, simply because switching between negative and positive questions confuses the reader. Most of us have struck this when struggling to answer poorly worded surveys.

The other downside of this approach is it makes it more difficult for supervisors and managers to do quality checks / reviews of completed checklists. Where inspection checklists are worded correctly, a quick quality review would consist of running your eyes down the answers, looking for a “No” (or “Yes”) and reading any included comments. The more difficult we make it for people to verify use of the management system, the more likely they won’t bother.

5) Continuous Improvement

Quality, environmental and OHS Management Systems are designed for continuous improvement. With this in mind, inspections should be regularly done to ensure that they continuously identify areas for improvement. However, it also means that the checklist is not written in stone and needs to respond as opportunities are identified to improve, clarify or simplify it. Note: Make sure this is done in accordance with document control (no free-for-all modification).

Contact Us

As an Environmental and OHS Consultancy, OSHEM Solutions provides a range of OHS, Environmental and Integrated Management Systems services including audit and inspection.

Click on this link to find out more about the type of services we provide, including case studies. If you would like more information on how we can assist your organisation Contact Us.

OSHEM Solutions | What is Reasonably Practicable

What is Reasonably Practicable

Model Work Health and Safety Act

Reasonably Practicable

As discussed in previous News & Articles, the role “reasonably practicable” will play in Australia’s Health and Safety legal space will be significant.

Reasonably Practicable is certainly not a new term within Australian law, as can be seen in the following extracts:

Commonwealth: Occupational Health and Safety Act 1991, Section 16

“An employer must take all reasonably practicable steps to protect the health and safety at work of the employer’s employees.”

ACT: Work Safety Act 2008, Section 14

“a person manages risk in relation to a duty by— (a) taking reasonably practicable steps…”

NT: Workplace Health and Safety Act 2007, Section 5

“An employer has a duty… to ensure, as far as reasonably practicable, that workers and others are not exposed to risks to health or safety arising from the conduct of the employer’s business.”

SA: Occupational Health, Safety and Welfare Act 1986, Section 19 and Tasmania: Workplace Health and Safety Act 1995, Section 9

“An employer must, in respect of each employee employed or engaged by the employer, ensure so far as is reasonably practicable that the employee is, while at work, safe from injury and risks to health…”

WA: Occupational Safety and Health Act 1984, Section 19

“An employer shall, so far as is practicable, provide and maintain a working environment in which the employees of the employer (the employees) are not exposed to hazards…”

NSW & Qld

Within New South Wales (NSW) and Queensland (Qld), the obligations held by employers and others has not previously mentioned practicability but the defendent who has been charged with failing to meet their legal duty could have argued that it was not reasonably practicable for them to meet their obligation (NSW) or that they took reasonable precautions (Qld).

Current State

Those jurisdictions under the Model Work Health & Safety Act now include reasonably practicable as an obligation of the prosecutor. This means the regulator of the relevant state or territory must prove that the duty holder failed to meet their obligation and that it was reasonably practicable for them to do so.

Definition of Reasonably Practicable

Under this model Act, reasonably practicable means doing what is, or was at the time, reasonably able to be done, taking into account and weighing up all relevant matters including:

  • The likelihood of the hazard concerned occurring,
  • The degree of harm that might result from the hazard, and
  • What the person concerned knows, or ought reasonably to know about:
    • The hazard or risk, and
    • The ways of eliminating or minimising the risk, and
  • The availability and suitability of ways to eliminate or minimise the risk, and
  • After assessing the risk and ways of eliminating or minimising the risk, the cost associated and available ways of eliminating / minimising the risk, including whether the cost is grossly disproportionate to the risk.

Risk Assessment Required

This means a risk assessment is required and that risk assessment must consider likelihood and consequence. It is also important to note that this risk assessment is required before considering controls, costs etc.

Knowledge of Duty Holder

Furthermore, the duty holder must take into account the knowledge they have in regards to the methods of eliminating or controlling the risk. It is important to note that that ignorance is not a defence. The law clearly states “what the person concerned knows” and, more importantly, “or ought reasonably to know”. It is more than reasonably to consider that a manager would know what is common practice in their industry, or even what is best practice. A manager who has requested a risk assessment and consulted with the workforce would, in most cases, understand both the risk and options to manage it.

Availability of Controls

The next point of the obligation acknowledges that there may not be a method available to eliminate, or even control, a risk. Furthermore, it considers the time to implement the control, as well as whether it is in fact the best option.

Cost to Eliminate or Control

Finally, after the risk assessment and control determination process has been undertaken, the organisation is encouraged to consider the costs of identified actions. This final point makes it clear that only ’grossly’ disproportionate costs may make elimination or control impracticable. Clearly one would argue that a $100,000 would not be a reasonable spend if the hazard was very unlikely to hurt someone and could only result in a superficial injury.

It is likely that this point will be most relevant when considering total elimination of a hazard, which is widely acknowledged to be both difficult and extremely costly in most circumstances, particularly in industries with long standing, well established safety standards, where ’quick wins’ have long been addressed.

Not Exhaustive

One final point to make about this definition; it is not the sum total of all considerations to be made. The first sentence states that the duty holder must take into account and weight up “all relevant matters including” those in the list. In many circumstances other factors may need considering.

Next Steps

All organisations need to gain a better understanding of the legislation. OSHEM Solutions have been working with our clients even before the ‘new’ legislation came into force, through our WHS Compliance Checks.

If your organisation would like more information on its obligations, call us on 1300 657 279 or click this link to Contact Us.

OSHEM Solutions | OHS Management System and Environmental Auditing

OHS Management System and Environmental Auditing

OHS Management System and Environmental Auditing

According to AS/NZS ISO 9000 Quality Management Systems – Fundamentals and Vocabulary, an audit is the “systematic, independent and documented process for obtaining audit evidence and evaluating it objectively to determine the extent to which audit criteria are fulfilled”. All clear now? Obviously not.

Systematic Audit

Whether the focus of the management system is Quality (QMS), Occupational Health and Safety (OHSMS) or Environmental Management (EMS) it must, by definition, be systematic. In other words it should be designed, implemented and managed in a deliberate, purposeful and pragmatic way. The auditing of these management systems must be handled in the same manner.

An audit program includes a plan, designed to adequately cover all components of the management system (either as a single or multiple audits) within a specific timeframe. It must be adequately resourced with competent OHS or environmental auditors to ensure it meets its purpose and the deadline. The program should also consider who will be required to participate and the material that must be made available for evaluation.

Independent Audit

There are 3 types of audits – first, second and third party.

First party are internal audits and the latter two are collectively referred to as external audits.

A second party audit is undertaken by another entity for the purposes of satisfying itself that the audited organisation is meeting requirements. An example of a second party audit would be a manufacturing company auditing the  health & safety management of its road transport supplier. Another example would be a construction company auditing the processes of its major contractor to ensure their subcontractor processes result in suitably qualified, capable and safe people on site.

Third party audits are undertaking by independent bodies for the purposes of certifying an organisation to a recognised standard. Examples include an OHS audit against the requirements of AS/NZS4801 Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems or an Environmental audit against ISO14001 Environmental Management Systems.

The independence of the second and third party audits are obvious, they are done by external organisations whose sole motivation is to determine compliance to the relevant criteria. However, how does an organisation achieve independence when it is conducting a quality, environmental or OHS audit on itself? The answer is, ‘only through deliberate action’.

One solution is to have internal OHS or environmental auditors from within the organisation but not from the audited site (e.g. sending OHS auditors from another division or sending Sydney auditors to Brisbane and vice versa). Alternatively the auditors could come from another department, such as an internal environmental auditor who normally works in the production department auditing the site laboratory.

Where these are not practicable options or further independence is required, external expertise may be called upon. Some of our clients make use of our Environmental Auditors / OHS Auditors to ensure their environmental and/or OHS internal audit program is resourced by professional auditors who are independent, qualified and highly industry experienced.

It should be noted that an audit is a formal and systematic process which examines a range of evidence and results in a determination of compliance or not. A supervisor doing his / her role of inspecting the work area or observing employees during a task is not an OHS audit. Neither is the process of a manager reviewing training records or work permits. These are examples of valid and necessary monitoring processes, but they are not audits. As will be discussed later, an audit involves known criteria (typically written), as well as documenting the findings, typically in the form of an audit report.

Audits must focus on the collection of evidence. Any finding included in the final report must be backed by some form of verifiable evidence. Evidence should com from a variety of sources and may include records, such as the training records or completed permits sighted by the manager mentioned earlier. It may include data from measuring equipment such as counters, scales, gauges etc. Evidence often includes sighted documents such as safe operating procedures or risk assessments, such as a safe work method statement (SWMS). Most OHS and environmental audits will also include interviews with key personnel.

Evaluating Evidence

This specifically relates to using the collected evidence to evaluate whether the organisation, site, department etc is meeting the requirements of the audit criteria (see following). However, it provides an opportunity to also discuss the importance of ensuring that the evidence is actually valid.

As a minimum, before accepting evidence, an OHS or environmental auditor should consider its currency and sufficiency. To be considered current, the evidence should be reasonably recent; the fact that the organisation undertook an environmental or safety risk assessment of a particular process 10 or more years ago may not be acceptable. To be sufficient, the evidence sighted / sample collected must be large enough to give the auditor some comfort that the management system is sufficiently implemented; the sighted confined space entry permits may have been from the last two weeks (current) but they would not be sufficient if they are the only ones in the filing cabinet of a site which has entries at least every week.

Most importantly the evidence must actually be evidence. Some auditees will produce a spreadsheet full of names and associated course titles when asked to demonstrate they have delivered training. No doubt training registers are excellent tools and may well demonstrate that training is being managed but they are not actually direct evidence of the training they list. Instead the auditee should be asked to produce a sample of certificates, signed competency assessments or attendance sheets.

Audit Criteria

As important as audit evidence, is the audit criteria or, put simply, the requirements. Some organisations undertake what they call audits without first identifying their audit criteria. How do you know you have passed if you don’t know what the pass mark is? How do you know whether someone is compliant if you don’t know what good looks like?

Clear and well communicated audit criteria are crucial to the success of any audit program. However, a note of caution: unlike quality auditing, which may only be subject to contractual requirements, environmental and OHS audit criteria must consider legal requirements of the relevant jurisdiction. No point giving your organisation the “all clear” on compliance to the requirements of a management system, if the system has failed to identify relevant legal obligations. Once again, ensure sufficient environmental and/or OHS expertise is utilised to developing these audit programs.


Once again, an effective environmental or OHS management system audit should be a “systematic, independent and documented process for obtaining audit evidence and evaluating it objectively to determine the extent to which audit criteria are fulfilled”. Hopefully this is much clearer now.

If you require more information or would like an obligation free discussion on how OSHEM Solutions can assist your organisation by providing OHS or environmental auditors for managing its environmental and/or OH&S management system audit program contact us.

OSHEM Solutions | Environmental & OHS Auditing

Environmental & OHS Auditing

Environmental & OHS Auditing

Whether conducting a Quality (QMS), Environmental (EMS) or Occupational Health and Safety Management System (OHSMS) audit, the key to gaining the most benefits is through thorough planning.

Many organisations develop a management system ‘audit program’. This program may include a range of components including an audit plan. An effective (and compliant) audit plan is designed to ensure all components of the environmental, work health and safety (WHS) or applicable management system are assessed within a given timeframe – often 12 months.

The audit program may also include a standard or procedure(s) which defines how audits will be undertaken and resourced. Competent Quality, Environment or OHS Auditors are required to ensure the most is gained from management system auditing. These auditors should be trained and competent, not only in the relevant discipline (e.g. environmental or OHS management systems) but also in the process of auditing.

Independence of Process

Audit best practice requires that auditors are independent of the processes they are auditing. For example the organisation’s OHS Manager would not audit the OHS management system he/she designed to determine if it is compliant with AS/NZS4801. They might, however, audit an operation of the organisation to determine if it has implemented the corporate OHS management system.

Audit Types

It is generally accepted that there are 3 types of audits: First, Second and Third Party.

First Party audits are also known as ‘internal audits’ and are therefore usually conducted by people within the organisation. To maintain independence, these internal auditors may come from another part of the organisation, possibly another department or an operation in another state. Many of our clients call upon us to assist their audit program because they see the benefits of a totally independent and professional Environmental Auditor / OHS Auditor. When using a consultant, the other advantage is ‘fresh eyes’ in the organisation and the opportunity to gain insight into a range of solutions being employed throughout industry.

A Second Party audit is undertaken by another organisation. These ‘second party audits’ are often companies auditing their suppliers to make sure they are effectively managing quality, environmental and/or health and safety requirements. This type of audit is very common in the construction industry whereby Principal Contractor audit their sub-contractors’ OHS Management Systems. Once again, often consultants are used to complete this assignment.

Third Party audits are those undertaking by independent bodies for the purposes of certifying an organisation to a national or international standard. Examples include a health & safety audit against the requirements of AS/NZS4801 Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems or an Environmental audit against the requirements of ISO14001 Environmental Management Systems.

If you would like some assistance design, developing or implementing your organsation’s Environmental and/or OHS Management System Audit Program, contact us.

OSHEM Solutions | New Health & Safety Laws 2012

New Health & Safety Laws 2012

New Health & Safety Laws 2012

New Parties

According to the Occupational Health and Safety Regulator of NSW, WorkCover NSW, some of the key changes of the Workplace Health and Safety legislation planned for 2012, is the creation of new parties or entities:


The harmonised WHS Act and Regulations see the replacement of “employer” with the term “person conducting business or undertaking”. This change has been made to acknowledge the diversified nature of modern workplaces with one or more employers and a team of workers who may be engaged through a variety of arrangements. The Person Conducting Business or Undertaking (PCBU) has the primary duty of care to ensure all workers are safe at the workplace.


As stated above, the new legislation aims to address the employment relationships of the modern workplace. Gone is the employer and employee relationship and introduced is the term “worker”. A worker is any person who performs work in any capacity for the PCBU including directly employed employees but also labour hire staff, volunteers, work experience students, contractors, sub-contractors, apprentices, trainees and outworkers. The obligations related to safe place and systems of work apply to any worker.


An “Officer” is an individual within the PCBU whose role and authority allow them to make decisions that significantly affect the business. In many organisations this could include the Managing Director, Chief Executive Officer and possibly General Managers. Under the new legislation Officers of the PCBU must exercise a proactive, due diligence to ensure their organisation is complying with requirements. This could include such things as establishing Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems (OHSMS), which include OHS auditing ,workplace inspections and other compliance checks.

Need Assistance?

If your organisation requires assistance determining if it is ready for the new Work Health and Safety Act, contact OSHEM Solutions. Our OHS auditors are currently conducting WHS Compliance Checks
with our clients, as well as assisting in the development of action plans to help them comply.

OSHEM Solutions | Risk Management

Risk Management

Risk Management

According to the International Standard for Risk Management, ISO31000, the Management of risk enables an organisation to, amongst other things:

  • Increase the likelihood of meeting objectives.
  • Encourage proactive management.
  • Improve the identification of opportunities and threats.
  • Comply with relevant legal and regulatory requirements.
  • Improve stakeholder confidence and trust.
  • Establish a reliable basis for decision making and trust.
  • Improve operational effectiveness and efficiency.

Whilst targeted risk management can also “enhance health and safety performance, as well as environmental protection”, the broader benefits are achieved when risk management is an integral part of all organisational process.

Risk management feeds both strategic and operational planning, project management and change management. The results of risk analysis should inform the choices of decision makers, assisting them to prioritise and resource actions.

Risk management must be systematic to ensure effective implementation and structured to ensure consistency of approach and the ability to compare results.

“Systematic” relates to the:

  • Mandate and Commitment,
  • The design of the framework (including policy, procedures, tools),
  • Implementation of framework,
  • Monitoring and Review of framework, and
  • Continual Improvement of framework.

Structured relates to a defined process including:

  • Establishing the context,
  • Risk Assessment,
  • Risk Treatment / Control,
  • Communication and Consultation, and
  • Monitoring and Review of risk

It is important to note that whilst ISO31000 defines a generic process, it recognises that success lies in a tailored approach to procedures and tools. Any risk management framework must include procedures which are “aligned with the organisation’s external and internal context and risk profile”.

OSHEM Solutions provides a range of work health & safety and environmental risk management / risk assessment services from high level risk profiling which is used to feed strategic planning and other executive decision making processes down to operationally focused risk assessment such as environmental impact and aspect assessment, manual handling risk assessments, plant and equipment risk assessment, Job Safety Analysis (JSA), Job Safety & Environmental Analysis (JSEA) and Safe Work Method Statements (SWMS), to name a few. OSHEM Solutions can also assist clients to develop and implement their risk management framework / procedures.