WA: New Industrial Manslaughter Laws with Important Implications for Businesses

Insurance Updates

In an effort to harmonise the Work Health & Safety (WHS) regimes across Australia, Western Australia has now passed legislation to update its Work Health and Safety Act 2020 (WA), (the Act).

 

Workplace Health & Safety Overhaul

The new laws will likely come into place in April 2021. This will include several changes, with the most notable being the Industrial Manslaughter Legislation:

If a ‘Persons Conducting a Business or Undertaking’ (PCBUs) is engaging in conduct knowing the conduct is likely to cause death “or serious harm” to an individual, the crime will now carry potential imprisonment term for up to 20 years and a fine up to $5,000,000 for an individual person and up to $10,000,000 for a body corporate.

 

Critical Actions for Directors & Officers

Any organisations based in Western Australia should now review their work health and safety procedures to ensure they meet the new legislative requirements.

These new changes are intended to make safety front of mind and help prevent any future fatalities from occurring.

Under the new legislation, it is important to note that officers can also be charged for crimes committed by a PCBU in certain circumstances, including when the PCBU’s conduct was attributable to the officer’s neglect, or engaged in with the officer’s consent or connivance.

Officers (in particular) should ensure they understand their obligations with respect to the PCBU’s WHS duties and officer due diligence.

 

What about Insurance?

Up until now, companies could transfer the risk of these penalties via insurance, however this will now be prohibited going forward. Companies will therefore need to ensure that policies offering WHS Penalties cover are not entered into.

 

We’re with you all the way

To find out more about these changes, feel free to reach out at any time.

 

Dan McCallum

Head of Client Services (WA)

dan.mccallum@honan.com.au

 

Honing-In on Our Teams: Honan Life

Life Insurance
  1. THE CRUX OF WHY YOUR TEAM EXISTS?

Simply put, to provide peace of mind to our clients. We provide personal insurance solutions to mitigate the economic loss in the event of death, disablement, or illness.

 

  1. A QUOTE TO CAPTURE YOUR TEAM’S ETHOS / APPROACH / CULTURE?

“We enjoy looking after our clients just as much as we enjoy looking out for each other. We are always willing to lend a hand to support one another and bring some fun to the workplace”.

 

  1. IF WE WERE A SPORTS TEAM, WE’D BE CALLED …

The Honey Badgers – Tenacious, unrelenting, and persistent…on behalf of our clients!

 

  1. REFLECTING ON THE YEAR TO DATE, HIT US WITH YOUR TEAM’S TOP 3 HEADLINES.

  • Our transfer back to 100% Honan ownership – we’re home!
  • A number of successful claim results
  • Some great underwriting outcomes, resulting in favourable terms for our clients

 

  1. HONAN’S ‘WITH YOU ALL THE WAY’ BRAND PROMISE IS ONE WE’RE PROUD TO HONOUR IN BOTH OUR DEALINGS WITH CLIENTS, BUT INTERNALLY ACROSS THE BUSINESS TOO. WHAT DOES ‘WITH YOU ALL THE WAY’ LOOK LIKE WITHIN YOUR TEAM? HOW DO YOU SUPPORT EACH OTHER THROUGH CHALLENGES AND WINS ALIKE?

Our process involves a collaborative approach from the entire team – without this we would not be able to achieve better outcomes for our clients. Our team all have quite different skill sets that we ensure are leveraged where necessary. We are honest enough to know there are areas where we require assistance, and we know we can depend on our colleagues to share their expertise.

 

  1. IF YOU COULD PICK ONE BRILLIANT PERSON – DEAD OR ALIVE – TO JOIN YOUR TEAM, WHO WOULD IT BE AND WHY?

Australian Rules football great, Leigh Matthews – exceptionally skilled, hugely determined, and courageous!

 

  1. LOOKING AHEAD, WHAT IS YOUR TEAM MOST LOOKING FORWARD TO OVER THE NEXT 6-12 MONTHS?

Continued collaboration across all parts of the Honan business. The opportunity to help even more clients and to provide them with the total Honan insurance solution is what motivates us!

 

 

 

 

Find out more about the golden rules of Life Insurance in this simple guide.

Managing Risk the Smart Way

Workplace Risk

Many businesses invest considerable time and effort to ensure the safety of their customers. But in the event that an accident does occur, what you do immediately afterwards is critical to achieving a positive and timely outcome for everyone involved. In this three-part series, Risksmart will highlight three key steps businesses can take to be ready to respond effectively to an incident.

 

STEP 1: INCIDENT REPORTS

It is prudent for all businesses to complete an Incident Report in the event a member of the public suffers an injury or property damage from their business activities. Incident Reports should form the foundation of any business’ risk management procedures because Courts will consider these when assessing the liability of a defendant.

 

WHY ARE INCIDENT REPORTS IMPORTANT? 

The importance of Incident Reports was emphasised in the recent case of Baker v Bunnings Group Limited [2020] NSWDC 310,[1] wherein a customer tripped and fell on a raised kerb as she traversed the carpark at Bunnings. In its decision, the District Court of NSW considered the Incident Report completed by Bunnings shortly after the incident. The Incident Report outlined that the area was inspected by staff and that it was free from slipping hazards. It also went on to outline there were no obstructions around the kerb.

The Court ultimately found in favour of Bunnings, concluding that the kerb presented an obvious tripping hazard to the claimant, which she ought to have avoided.  Whilst the Court considered other evidence such as photographs and oral statements to reach their decision, this case demonstrates that Courts will carefully consider Incident Reports when investigating the facts of an incident and assessing the liability of a defendant.

 

CRITICAL INFORMATION TO CAPTURE

Incident Reports are designed to capture critical information pertaining to the incident. They should be completed as soon as possible after the incident to ensure that any relevant facts are not forgotten. Information in the Incident Report should be factual, accurate and objective – free from opinion and emotion.

 

REPORTS SHOULD INCLUDE THE FOLLOWING (AT THE VERY LEAST):

  • Date, time and location of the incident. It is helpful here to include a diagram or map detailing the exact location. Photographs should also be taken of the incident area (more on this later).
  • A detailed description of the incident as reported by the member of the public, including their alleged damage or injuries.
  • Visual observations of the incident area.
  • Name and contact details of all parties involved.

REPORTS SHOULD NOT INCLUDE:

  • An opinion on liability or a statement conceding that your business was responsible for or caused the incident.
  • Assumptions or inaccurate information about the events leading up to the incident or the incident itself.
  • Reference to any similar or prior incidents.

 

A final note

Risksmart can utilise Incident Reports to track your long-term incident data, which can be used to identify trends in your business’ key risk areas and help prevent future incidents.

Feel free to contact Risksmart today to discuss how our Incident Reporting solutions can be tailored to your business.

 

Faramarz Ostowari

National Technical Claims Manager

Faramarz.ostowari@risksmartclaims.com.au

 

 

1 For a comprehensive summary of the judgement, please see the following link from our colleagues, Barry Nilsson.

Protecting Your Assets: Lessons From an Unprecedented Summer of Weather

Private Clients

The summer of 2019/2020 brought with it some of the worst bushfires and hailstorms I have ever experienced as a manager for personal clients. Events such as these have significant impacts, even with the very best insurance policy in place. As I say to my clients, risk mitigation is key and actions can be taken to reduce the physical risks posed by these occurrences. Following these very basic steps can assist greatly in preventing or minimising losses.

 

BASIC HOME MAINTENANCE IS VITAL 

Stormwater ingress is more likely to impact you during heavy rain events if your gutters and downpipes are blocked with leaves and debris. Ensuring these are both free from obstruction will limit stormwater build up, back fill and flooding through your roof cavity. If you live in a leafy suburb, gutter guards are a great option to consider.

Further to this, check your roof and windows are in good condition on a regular basis. Your home’s roof and windows are the only barrier between you and the elements. Melbourne in particular has experienced extreme hail events in the last 18 months – I would highly encourage any clients that have not engaged in roof maintenance over the last 2 years do so before the upcoming storm season. Small holes, cracks and deterioration in roofing or windows can lead to stormwater ingress over time (which can cause mould issues) or during heavy rainfall events.

 

ATTEND TO IMMEDIATE RISKS

Whether you live in the suburbs or in regional areas, removing imposing risks near your home or permanent structures (such as sheds and fencing) is important. Here are some considerations:

  • trim back any trees that may be too close or hanging over your home and structures
  • ensure you have adequate clearance around your property (if you are in a bushfire area)
  • remove any debris that may be a fire risk
  • store outdoor furniture and other items (e.g. BBQs) in a safe place, such as an undercover area or pack them away if not in regular use.

 

PREPARE FOR FLOODING

Flash flooding has become a much more common occurrence in metropolitan areas over the last decade. I would always encourage individuals to speak to their brokers to find out if their home is a pluvial flood risk. Homeowners who may be at risk of flash flooding can prepare for these events by:

  • storing sandbags in their garage for a worst-case scenario situation.
  • ensuring there is adequate drainage and flood protection measures (dual sump pumps, adequate waterproofing) in low lying areas of your home such as basements and cellars
  • checking all contents in low lying areas (e.g. basements and cellars) are stored off the ground.

 

PROTECT YOUR VEHICLE

It might make for great viewing on the news but do not attempt to drive through flood waters. In the event of extreme weather forecasts, I would encourage those living in apartments or complexes with car stackers to move their car to a covered multilevel carpark above ground.

 

AND LASTLY, TALK TO YOUR BROKER! 

Your Insurance Manager has a wealth of knowledge when it comes to risk mitigation and can often engage with the relevant Risk Mangers at insurance companies if you have particular areas of concern.

Engaging with your insurance broker about any renovations (in progress, completed or planned) as well as improvements made to your property (e.g. solar panels, a new shed, fencing or the addition of a rare outdoor sculpture) is imperative in ensuring that the right insurance program is in place for you if something does go wrong.

 

WE’RE WITH YOU ALL THE WAY 

Feel free to reach out to discuss your situation at any time – we’d love to hear from you.

 

Christie Mitsas

Client Manager – Private Client Group

christie.mitsas@honan.com.au

+61 499 081 139

 

 

Avoiding Work Party Pitfalls: Tips for Celebrating Safely

Workplace Risk

At Honan Workplace Risk, we’ve seen our fair share of claims arise from end of year work events. We have consulted with many clients, who simply were not aware their business is liable in the event of a staff member’s accident or injury while attending work events. Here are our tips for minimising risk exposure for your organisation.

 

Time & location does not matter

Even when a work event is scheduled out of hours or offsite, the business must uphold its duty of care and ensure a safe environment for all staff. Essentially this means if a member of staff is injured during a work-related event, they could pursue a workers’ compensation claim for any medical expenses or loss of income.

 

What are your risk exposures?

End of year celebrations can create conditions for two broad types of risk exposures: misconduct and physical injury. Overindulging and intoxication increases business exposure, which may give rise to misconduct or a physical injury. Any injury or allegation sustained during the work event is considered ‘throughout the course of employment’ and subsequent liability may be accepted.

 

What can you do?

While there are risks involved, there are actions you can take to reduce your business’ exposure.

 

Tip 1: communicate early and consistently with your workforce and set clear expectations about acceptable conduct. Your people reflect your brand, and unprofessional behaviour isn’t a great look.

 

Tip 2: if the event is offsite, remind leaders in advance that the venue is an extension of the workplace and the same behaviours and conduct are expected there. For example, encourage Managers to be accountable for their direct reports so any disrespectful or dangerous behaviour can be immediately addressed in line with your company policies.

 

Tip 3: appoint staff ‘supervisors’ to monitor behaviour during the event, particularly if alcohol is being served.

 

Tip 4: consider a ‘get home safe’ plan for staff. This could involve an Uber discount or hiring a minibus for the event. Exiting an event is often a time when people are exposed to a higher level of risk. Certain legislation extends to journeys to and from work, which could leave your business liable in the event of an injury.

 

Closing comments

It is important to reward your staff for their hard work and commitment throughout the year. However, incurring a workers’ compensation claim from poor supervision or inadequate planning can spoil the celebrations and reduce the likelihood of future events. Communicate your business expectations early and remind everyone to enjoy themselves without putting each other and the business at risk.

Lessons in Life Insurance: Golden rules for purposeful policies

Life Insurance

At a time when life feels less familiar than ever, it’s natural to seek ways to reduce uncertainty for ourselves and our loved ones. Life insurance is one way to do this. While many of us don’t think twice about insuring replaceable assets like our homes and cars, we’re a little less certain when it comes to our lives, income and health. Whether you’re new to life insurance, or keen to review the ‘fitness’ of your existing policy, here are some important points to consider:

 

What is life insurance?

A life insurance strategy (or portfolio) is designed to bridge a financial gap caused by an involuntary exit from the workforce due to medical diagnosis, injury, or death, from now through to retirement. A robust life insurance portfolio is a purpose-built one, with financial support tailored to your particular circumstances. A life insurance portfolio can consist of four products: Life (death), Total & Permanent Disability (TPD), Income Protection (salary continuance), and Trauma. In terms of funding certain life insurance premiums, there are options to do so through your superannuation, as a means to ease pressure on disposable income. Some life insurance products can also provide personal tax deductions.

 

How does it work?

Let’s take Income Protection as an example. Your ability to earn an income is your most important asset – something 2020 has reminded us about in spades. Living expenses continue even if your work does not. While Income Protection does not cover redundancy or termination, it does cover up to 75% of your income if you’re unable to work for a period of time due to injury or illness. Furthermore, personalising your Income Protection Insurance with an appropriate waiting period and benefit period means factors such as living expenses, financial objectives and salary are protected throughout a difficult time.

 

‘Set & forget’ = fraught with error

For Life Insurance in particular, a ‘set and forget’ approach to policy management is fraught with error. At Honan, our approach to Life Insurance (and indeed most insurance programs across the board), adheres to the following golden rules:

RULE 1: Review Regularly

When comparing life insurance strategies, consider a policy that’s tailored to your financial objectives and needs, with annual reviews to ensure ongoing appropriateness.

You want peace of mind that if something does happen, your insurance portfolio is truly ‘fit-for-purpose’ and ready to respond to your current personal circumstances (NOT your circumstances five years ago when the cover was implemented).

RULE 2: Bespoke is Best

Insurers have vastly different risk appetites imposed by reinsurers. At Honan, part of our policy-building process is to run a medical pre-assessment for all clients; matching their unique needs with a policy that fits. You may, for instance, require a medical loading to cover an existing condition, or a specific medical exclusion may apply due to previous injuries or illness. Designed with utmost confidentiality along the way, each policy will be built differently; reflecting your body mass index (BMI), smoking habits, pre-existing health conditions, and childhood/sporting surgeries. Again, these variables will change over time; thus the importance of Rule 1. Remember, previous medical history should NOT be a deterrent to seeking advice. The purpose of unpacking your personal history is not to discriminate, but to achieve a policy that is truly accurate and ‘ready to rescue’ in a time of need. At Honan, we assume the role of advisor – asking the right questions, answering yours, collating the data and achieving a policy prepared solely for your circumstances. 

 

We’re with you all the way

Honan Life is a specialised Life Insurance division within the Honan Group. Having unparalleled access to the market allows us to implement the right cover for our clients, with premium competitiveness and favourable medical terms.

To find out how Honan Life can support you and your family, please reach out at any time for a complimentary review of your existing portfolio, or to discuss new options available.

 

Tyler ScarcePersonal Risk Advisor

tyler.scarce@honanlife.com.au

0439 813 124

Finding Your COVID-Safe Cadence: 5 Tips for Navigating the ‘New Norm’

Specialist Services

The ‘new norm’ will look different for all businesses across the globe. Whether it’s a complete return to office for an entire workforce, a portion of the workforce, or more of a flexible, iterative approach decided by the individual on a weekly basis, one thing is certain – to navigate this next critical phase safely and sensitively, all workplaces will require a formal transition plan. A robust COVID-Safe workplace transition plan involves careful planning and close consideration of the varied circumstances of your people. To support leaders in shaping their transition plans, we’ve tabled 5 key areas to think about.

 

1. How SAFE is your ‘COVID-Safe’ plan?

Businesses are now required to regularly review and update their COVID-Safe plan in line with public health advice and changes to restrictions. Implementing an effective return to office strategy requires easing your workforce into a ‘new normal’, e.g. introducing staggered shifts.

Employers may even like to consider returning certain teams to the office ahead of others. A phased or alternating approach may reduce anxiety among staff, compared to an immediate return to 5-days in the office, surrounded by a full staff.

 

2. Time for a MENTAL HEALTH check?

Employers need to have a clear understanding of the mental health support mechanisms in place for their people. Now more than ever, employers need to play a protective role in supporting the mental health and wellbeing of their people; with resources readily available both in the office and when working remotely.

While all employees contribute to a mentally healthy workplace, employers must foremost demonstrate leadership in this area – providing staff with 24/7 ‘mental helpdesks’ such as employee assistance programs (EAPs), or other high-quality mental health resources, whether they be internal or external (e.g. Lifeline, BeyondBlue). Awareness about these valuable services requires ongoing communication throughout the organisation, ideally in tandem with internal initiatives to promote optimal mental wellbeing among staff. Prevention is better than cure!

Changes to working arrangements can also impact team dynamics, especially as employees shift from secure solo remote working set ups, to busier new conditions. Employers must support their people through this transition with sensitivity and patience. Noting each employee will have a unique change threshold and anxieties particular to their circumstance, leaders must tread carefully, and avoid rushing the process. Team and one-on-one catch ups should be encouraged – these serve as important forums for employees to socialise their needs, concerns and ideas through this new chapter. 

 

3. ENGAGE before you rearrange

Engaging staff early, and often, about their personal circumstances and work-home-productivity rhythms and preferences is paramount. Understanding individual circumstances will allow leaders to design a customised return to office experience, ensuring critical employee concerns and working needs are met. Organisations should aim to establish a regular communication cadence with staff to ensure new changes and updates are integrated and understood as they evolve over time. Regular one-on-ones and team meetings should be set up to discuss expectations around returning to the office, with a view to achieving ‘sweet spots’ where business needs meet employee preferences. To learn more about employees’ preferences and concerns about remote work, plus insights on how companies can evolve for remote work, be sure to check out our key takeaways from Atlassian’s 2020 global remote work study in Flexible Work: Here to Stay, But Have You Nailed the Formula?

 

4. CLEAR is KIND

As they say, assumption is the mother of all stuff-ups – never assume your entire workforce is singing from the same hymn sheet. Ongoing efforts must be made to ensure important messages are aligned and shared through standardised communication channels. Achieving an optimal ‘new norm’ will require continuous, considered communication of critical information. For instance – the number of people who can work in the office at any one time, the use of meeting rooms and shared staff spaces, parties responsible for monitoring safety, how breaches or concerns can be raised. Critical updates must be communicated clearly, early and regularly through agreed channels to ensure the narrative remains consistent and builds trust. Sending regular updates via email, through the intranet and / or social media channels and regular team meetings are all examples of utilising effective communication channels.

 

5. WH&S at all times

As more of us move from #WFH and back to the worksite, there has never been a better time to review and refresh internal Workplace Health and Safety policies and procedures. Workplaces must ensure they are complying with new COVID-related standards, revisit safe work practice inductions or update sessions as required to re-engage employees in their transition to new working conditions. Hosting Health and Safety refresher briefings is a great place to start – an opportunity to remind employees about existing procedures and educate them on new policies too.

 

We’re with you all the way

To learn how Honan can further support your business, please reach out at any time.

 

Grace Rod – Client Executive

grace.rod@honan.com.au

 

Sharon Rutherford – Head of Risk Consulting

sharon.rutherford@honan.com.au

 

Jules Paolino – Workplace Risk Consultant 

jules.paolino@honan.com.au

Flexible Work: Here to Stay, But Have You Nailed the Formula?

Employee Benefits
Reflections on Atlassian’s white paper (Oct, 2020) Reworking Work: Understanding the Rise of Work Anywhere – global research into the impacts of COVID-19.

 

In February this year – before many Australians shifted to remote work – we shared our thoughts on Employee Benefit Trends & How to get Ahead in 2020. As part of this forecast, we reflected on a 2019 study by Group Insurer Metlife which showed flexible work to be one of the most desired (47% of those surveyed) benefits by Australian employees. While 75% of Aussie workers were annoyed it took a pandemic to make it happen, the findings from Atlassian’s comprehensive 2020 global study on remote working further supports this sentiment. 

Further to its impressive 2020 Reworking Work white paper, Atlassian shared its TEAM Anywhere policy with the world in August this year. As progressive as the tech giant itself, TEAM Anywhere allows employees to choose where and when they want to work; a policy underpinned by a commitment by Atlassian to focus on the outcomes of its employees rather than hours worked. Equally, TEAM Anywhere enables Atlassian to recruit the best talent from anywhere in the world – a savvy play by the employer.

In Reworking Work, Atlassian studied the working from home experiences of 5,000 workers across Australia, France, Germany, Japan, and the US during COVID-19. Revealing the good, bad and the ugly of remote working, we’ll explore the following 3 key questions, specific to Australia:

  1. What do employees LIKE about remote work?
  2. What CONCERNS employees about remote work?            
  3. How can companies EVOLVE for remote work / the future of work?     

 

What do employees LIKE about remote work?

Most (73%) Australian respondents were satisfied with their company’s leadership during the health crisis. In general, Australian employees surveyed had a positive remote working experience, with 68% reporting improved job satisfaction and 70% saying their work life balance had improved – as shown in Figure 1 below. Many employees felt empowered by the flexibility and convenience of this new way of work, and believed they were more productive and effective when working remotely.

With less time commuting and avoiding unnecessary distractions at work, employees had more time for family, loved ones, hobbies and pastimes. Another powerful insight: 86% of Australian respondents reported greater appreciation of their quality of life outside of work.

 

What CONCERNS employees about remote work?

Remote working has its challenges. For example, many Australian study respondents felt their remote working arrangements could damage their career progression.

While employees felt more productive and effective at home, 42% are working longer hours. Reduced in-person contact also meant more time spent wrangling emails (as acknowledged by 77% of respondents) and reporting to clients and managers (66%).

The social interaction offered by workplaces was also missed by many employees, particularly by Australians (75% Aus vs 50% of employees globally). After all, us Aussies do love our banter!

It was also interesting to note that Australian respondents were less open to a mix of home and office work compared to the global sample (27% vs 46%). The majority (43%) of Australians preferred to work completely from home, while almost one third preferred to work solely from the office.

 

Figure 1: Some key individual and organisational findings revealed in the study.

 

How can companies EVOLVE for remote work / the future of work?

With pressure on the bottom line, companies are finding unique ways to continue recruiting and retaining quality talent through robust employee benefits programs.

Research in the US by AFLAC shows 55% of employees would ‘somewhat accept’ a job with lower compensation but more robust employee benefits, while 80% of would prefer to retain their current job with benefits as opposed to accepting a role with higher pay and no benefits.

As the research shows, a robust employee benefits offering coupled with a considered flexible work strategy will remain an integral part of an employer’s overall benefit proposition. 

Atlassian’s study identifies three key factors impacting the effectiveness of working remotely:

  1. the complexity of the worker’s home life
  2. the complexity of the worker’s employment role
  3. the quality of the worker’s social and work network.

Thus, each person’s ‘WFH’ experience is different and subject to change. Dominic Price, Work Futurist at Atlassian, aptly captures this:

“If you’ve ever said your people are your biggest asset, now is the time to act upon that”.

Companies today have a unique opportunity to ask questions, to listen to their employees’ feedback around what works and what needs tweaking in order to land a strategy and culture best suited to their greatest asset, their people.

 

 

We’re with you – all the way

At Honan, we understand the power of holistic employee benefit schemes and in particular, how to respectfully tailor them to your people, and communicate them across your business.

Our Global Benefits team has extensive experience working with clients of all sizes across the globe and will work collaboratively with you to achieve a robust solution truly fit for the future of work, and the future of your organisation. Contact us to discuss your employee benefits proposition at any time. 

 

Shabab Maqsud – Client Manager, Employee Benefits    

shabab.maqsud@honan.com.au

 

Workers’ Compensation Snapshot: FY21 Q1-Q2

Workplace Risk

In this update, we share practical insurance insights from the quarter that’s been, and forecasts for the quarter ahead.

 

KEY TAKEAWAYS FROM FY21: Q1?

The immediate exposure for Australian workers has decreased with the majority of businesses successfully transitioning to remote arrangements (and some now returning to the office). The insurance market is facing a high frequency of claims and large losses, resulting in delays for businesses following the initial lodgement of claims. While workers are still exposed to physical risks, the mental health risks are an increasingly significant challenge for both clients and insurers.

Meanwhile, Victorian Insurers have taken a proactive approach in the reporting and management of positive COVID-19 cases in the workplace. Clients are being encouraged to report any ‘outbreaks’ to their Insurer as soon as confirmation is received.

 

KEY CONSIDERATIONS FOR FY21: Q2?

WorkCover WA has announced the abolition of the Common Law Termination Day (previously 12 months post the date of injury). This change has the potential to extend access to Common Law for existing claims where the three-year limitation period has not passed.

icare in NSW have begun remediation of pre-injury average weekly earnings (PIAWE) errors and commenced payment to affected workers. When a work-related injury occurs, and the employee is unable to perform their full pre-injury duties, they may be paid a percentage of their PIAWE for a set period. It has been estimated that under and over payments will impact 5,000 to 10,000 injured workers with the estimated costs to be between $5 million and $10 million in total.

 

WHAT INDUSTRY TRENDS SHOULD CLIENTS MONITOR OVER THE COMING QUARTER?

As businesses transition from home working arrangements back into offices, a degree of apprehension is to be expected from the workforce. Ensuring your business has a robust COVID-Safe Plan that has been communicated to all staff will support a safe and sustainable return to the office.

The Workers Compensation market typically experiences increased claim frequency within the months of November and December. We encourage business to demonstrate commitment to Work Health Safety and Workplace Risk practices, to support a healthy and injury free end to Q2 FY21.

 

 

We’re With You All The Way

Feel free to reach out to discuss your situation and address any questions or concerns.

 

Jules Paolino 

Workplace Risk Consultant 

jules.paolino@honan.com.au

 

Dreamworld Coronial Inquest: Key actions to reduce risk exposure in your organisation

Specialist Services

The Dreamworld Thunder River Rapids Ride incident will forever be remembered as a tragic loss of life. Through the coronial inquest, we’ve come to understand that accidents such as this one can occur when organisations don’t have the right frameworks in place. While we like to think we have our risks well managed, it doesn’t matter how many layers of control exist, incidents will occur if those layers are ineffective.  Following on from the webinar by Verus Managing Director, Cameron Clark and Honan’s , Head of Risk Consulting, here are three key actions to help you reduce organisational risk. 

 

  1. Examine Governance and assurance activities supporting Senior Management

Findings from the Dreamworld Coronial inquest demonstrate how poor governance activities can undermine organisational decision-making. Senior management have obligations under WHS law to exercise due diligence. Exercising that due diligence and making decisions that impact on organisational health and safety requires access to up-to-date knowledge of health and safety legal requirements and an understanding of the organisation’s critical risks. The recent introduction of Industrial Manslaughter laws across a number of jurisdictions in Australia will only increase the importance of effective governance and assurance going forward.

Ask yourself the following questions about your governance and assurance activities:

    • Are they well designed?
    • Are they commensurate with risk?
    • Are they independent?
    • Are they followed through?

 

  1. Identify and manage your risks

The findings from the inquest revealed a failure by the organisation to systematically manage health and safety hazards and risks across the organisation and its rides. It failed to ensure that systems and procedures designed to support the organisation were properly implemented. Consequently, there were numerous missed opportunities for Dreamworld to identify risks, implement measures to prevent reoccurrence of incidents, and ensure their employees had suitable competencies to operate rides and respond in emergencies.

Ask yourself the following questions about your risks:

    • Are systems regularly tested to ensure they are working as intended?
    • Does their design allow for proper consultation with experts?
    • Are there suitable resources (including people, training and regular auditing) available to pick up on warning signs and investigate?
    • Is risk used effectively to inform organisational decision-making?
    • Are people properly trained/qualified to undertake safety management tasks?
    • Does training for high risk tasks include suitable instruction in emergency response?

 

  1. Consider your plant and equipment maintenance

The Dreamworld incident highlights how quickly a catastrophic incident can occur when it involves plant and equipment that is poorly managed and maintained. It took just over a minute for four people to be trapped in the mechanism of the Thunder River Rapids Ride following the failure of an associated water pump. Plant and equipment, particularly complex systems, demand a comprehensive program to ensure safe design, modification, operation, repair and maintenance in accordance with strict legislative requirements.

Ask yourself the following questions about your plant and equipment:

    • Are plant and equipment designs and maintenance programs adequate?
    • Have designs and maintenance programs kept pace with industry advances, legal obligations and Australian standards?
    • Are plant systems, including emergency systems, integrated?
    • Are plant modifications informed by risk assessment?
    • Are faulty plant / breakdown procedures robust and well understood and problems fixed rather than ignored?
    • Are operator tasks commensurate with the available time and human cognitive abilities?

 

If you missed the webinar, you can view the recording here.

 

We’re with you all the way

We’re pleased to support businesses in addressing risks and building overall resilience. As always, we recommend close consultation with your Broker and WHS Specialist to ensure your risk mitigation strategies are up to date, focused on best practice and are appropriately audited.  To learn how Honan can further support your business, please reach out at any time.

 

Sharon Rutherford – Head of Risk Consulting

sharon.rutherford@honan.com.au

 

 

Image: Flowers at a memorial in front of Dreamworld, November 2016. Picture: Chris Hyde

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