Our risk managers field a lot of questions about “safe design” obligations when we’re delivering seminars. That’s not surprising. Designers naturally strive to produce good designs that protect workers as much as possible. On top of that, work health and safety law imposes alarmingly high maximum penalties, as a serious deterrent. The very worst breaches can result in fines of up to $3 million or imprisonment for up to 5 years.
It’s just over five years since the first Australian jurisdictions passed new “nationally harmonised” work health and safety law. Commencing on 1 January 2012 (in NSW, Queensland, ACT, Northern Territory and on Commonwealth projects) and 1 January 2013 (South Australia and Tasmania), the “harmonised” law contained some new obligations for designers of buildings and structures. In particular, it required designers to provide certain kinds of information and reports touching on safety.
Five years on is a good opportunity to recap progress that has been made and look at questions like:
- What has been the impact of “harmonised” work health and safety law on workplace fatalities?
- How common are prosecutions of designers for “safe design” breaches?
- What are designers’ obligations in harmonised states?
- What should you be doing to meet your obligations?
Did you know, for example, that the years 2003-2015 saw a decrease of about one third in workplace fatalities across Australia? Or that the construction industry has the third-highest number of fatalities in Australia, higher than both manufacturing and mining?
If you work in the ACT, NSW, Queensland, Tasmania or on Commonwealth Government projects, had you heard that the Safe Design of Structures Code of Practice has been adopted into the law in those jurisdictions? Have you got a copy in your office, or do you know where to get one?
We have created a new online short course on safe design which you can watch at your convenience, from your desktop computer or mobile device. You can purchase this concise 20-minute update as part of one of these one-hour courses:
- Practice Fundamentals – Safe Design Update, Inspections and Certificates, Engaging Sub-Consultants
- Law and Risk Update 2017 – Safe Design Update, Unfair Contracts, Combustible Cladding
Or, for a more in-depth analysis, join us for our one-hour live webinar on Thursday 30 March: book here.
Risk Manager, informed