Category Archives: Legal

  • Employers concerned with new OH&S laws

    Posted on 27 April, 2012

    National OH&S harmonisation laws …
    How these new laws affect insurance coverage for employers’ Statutory Liability.

    Currently NSW and Qld have passed legislation aligning OH&S laws to the new national standard, with Tas. and SA to follow soon. The driving force behind this legislation is to create a means to diminish the cost of work-related injuries and medical conditions, prevalent throughoutAustralia.

    Increased potential fines of $3M for a corporation, $600,000 or 5 years jail for an officer and $300,000 or 5 years jail for an individual have heightened many directors and officers’ awareness of these new laws and to start questioning what insurance coverage is available to protect them from these new management risk exposures.

    Due Diligence – the new model law provides that if a company has a duty o obligation under the legislation, an Officer must exercise ‘due diligence’ to ensure the company complies with that duty or obligation. This will now be a positive obligation. Due Diligence is defined to include taking reasonable steps in relation to:

    • Acquiring and keeping up to date knowledge of the work health and safety matters;
    • Gaining an understanding of the nature of the operations and generally of hazards and risks associated with those operations;
    • Ensuring that the person conducting a business or undertaking has available and uses appropriate resources and processes to enable hazards associated with the operations to be identified and risks eliminated or minimised;
    • Ensure that the person conducting a business or undertaking has appropriate processes for receiving and considering information regarding incidents, hazards and risks and responding to these in a timely way;
    • Ensuring that the person conducting a business or undertaking has and implements processes for complying with the body’s duties and obligations; and
    • Verifying all of the above.

    Specialist Insurers offer suitable coverage for Directors and Officers of listed corporations for a range of personal liability risks. SME companies have been able to purchase a Management Liability policy which includes Statutory Liability coverage among a range of other management risks such as Employment Practices liability.

    However insurers will now need to review their product offerings to ensure that their policies meet the extra demands in the new harmonisation legal framework which include the many extra risk exposures and which became effective on January 1st in some states.

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