When does a principal “engage” a contractor?

by Dave Collins on April 5, 2017

in Contractor Safety Management,Safety Legislation



Latest blog posts by WHS Lawyer Greg Smith and co-author of Risky Conversations, The Law, Social Psychology and Risk.

When does a principal “engage” a contractor and other observations

imageArticle first published HERE

On 27 March 2017 the NSW District Court handed down a decision in Safe Work (NSW) v Activate Fire Pty Ltd; Safe Work (NSW) v Unity (NSW) Pty Ltd [2017] NSWDC 66.

The case provides an excellent summary of key legal principles underpinning health and safety legislation. It also provides very good insight into the issue of when an entity “engages” a contractor for the purposes of health and safety legislation.

Finally, the case is instructive, because the Court examines each of the allegations against Activate and Unity – the things the regulator said it was “reasonably practicable” for them to do – and explains why those things were or were not reasonably practicable.

You can access a 25 minute video presentation about case HERE.

2017 AUSA Conference – Playing devil’s advocate

Article first published HERE

In June 2017 I will be speaking at the AUSA  Conference in Hobart, Tasmania on the topic of health and safety reporting:  Health and safety performance indicators: Measuring activity, providing assurance or undermining safety.  This is a topic that I have been focused on over the last 12 months (Measuring and Reporting on Work Health & Safety, WHS Reporting and Due Diligence: Some practical thoughts, Health & Safety Assurance Workshop)

You can find out more about the conference from their website,   But if anyone who would like a sneak preview of what I will be speaking about, a short video presentation is available below.

  • Rob Long

    The reason why senior executives don’t know about their crucial systems is because they help set a culture of blindness by their language and management style. If I had a boss who sprouted zero harm and all of the cultural language attached to such nonsense, i would report nothing. Any reporting under a zero harm ideology will be punished and can only be understood as a threat to company ideology. So, even if a company has effective systems, they are not what a zero ideologue looks for, the CEO just wants a report on numbers. Then the safety industry ‘attributes’ meaning to numbers which have no meaning for safety and so an executive then doesn’t need an explanation because the number mysteriously tells them all is well. There are many numerical and mechanistic tools the safety industry use like LTIs and TRIFR rates that actually tell a CEO nothing and yet noone challenges this nonsense. Worse still the safety industry continues to train students doing a WHS course in all this nonsense along with the continued mythology of pyramids and matrices as these also have meaning. Then strangely they get to court one day and then the court tells them that all of this ‘noise’ in their system is meaningless.

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