Enforceable Undertakings – What Are They?
Do you know what an “Enforceable Undertaking” is?
In Australia, an enforceable undertaking is a legally binding agreement made to avoid prosecution. For example, a person found to have workplace safety violations and state health and safety regulators may enter into an agreement to instigate measures to correct activities and comply with health and safety laws.
The idea is that a person can propose an enforceable undertaking in lieu of prosecution.
To win new contracts and retain existing clients, many businesses are finding they need an impeccable safety record. The last thing they want is a health and safety prosecution. The “EU” is the last chance to keep that record if the law has been broken.
Enforceable Undertakings are legally-binding commitments to implement health and safety initiatives. These initiatives are designed to deliver tangible benefits for workers, industry, and the community as a whole. These undertakings are made public.
An Enforceable Undertaking is unacceptable for a category 1 offence.
A category 1 offence is where a duty holder recklessly endangers a person risking death or serious injury. Neither can an enforceable undertaking be accepted in a category 2 offence where;
- there is a failure to comply with a health and safety duty,
- failure in an electrical safety duty that exposes a person to the risk of death, serious injury or illness.
- or offence of industrial manslaughter.
Industrial manslaughter is the highest penalty under the Australian Health and Safety law.
It can be used where a business owner or manager negligently causes the death of a worker.
Enforceable Undertakings Require More Than The Law.
Generally, the measures required under an enforceable undertaking will exceed the measures outlined in the law.
There’s no option to shortcut the requirements placed on a person under one of these undertakings.
The events and process leading to a situation where an enforceable undertaking is required should be avoided at all costs.
This means taking stock of all the systems the law requires for your business.
Ensure you have a;
- Safety policy accessible to all staff and visitors
- Risk assessment process
- Safe operating procedures available to all users
- Safe work method statements (for high-risk construction work)
- Method of carrying out regular audits on assets, jobs, chemicals, locations and systems
- Hazard management system to assess risk and implement control measures
- Incident management system that tracks injury and investigation
- Safety training process that tracks attendance and revisions
- Safety and toolbox meeting system
- Reminders when issues need attending
- Registers whereby issues can easily be tracked to resources
To avoid ever needing to enter an enforceable undertaking you’ll need to manage each part of your health and safety system well. You can’t afford to let even a small oversite put your business at risk.