Work Health & Safety: Risks and Obligations

WHS Basics

This program is suitable for entire workforce and all industries regardless of position and hours of work

TOPICS

It will cover topics including:

  • Basic obligations of workers (employees and contractors) and PCBUs
  • Penalties
  • Regulations/Codes of Practice
  • Consultation (PCBU and worker)
  • Powers of safety inspectors and unions
  • Incident reporting and non-disturbance
  • Officers – due diligence obligations
  • Working from home
  • Isolated/remote work
  • Manual handling
  • Bullying/psychological risks

WHS – Dealing with Incidents and the Regulator

This program is suitable for Manager and Leaders or those who are required to deal with incidents in the workplace

TOPICS

It will cover topics including those in WHS Basics but with greater depth/focus on:

  • Managing WHS complaints/issues
  • Understanding when to report to the safety regulator and insurers
  • Non-disturbance of incident sites
  • Dealing with investigations, notices and prosecutions by safety regulators, including visits by safety inspectors
  • Legal professional privilege
  • Hierarchy of control and implementing change
  • Dealing with third parties – coroner, police, unions

WHS – Officers’ Due Diligence Obligations

This program is suitable for Board members, directors, company secretaries or those heavily involved in the management of the organisation and who can impact he organisation’s finances or Board direction

TOPICS

It will cover topics including those in WHS Basics but with greater depth/focus on an officer’s independent duty of due diligence under WHS laws

  • Acquiring and keeping up to date knowledge of WHS matters
  • Understanding the nature of the operations of the business/undertaking and generally of the hazards and risks associated with those operations
  • Ensuring the business/undertaking has available for use, and uses, appropriate resources and processes to eliminate or minimise WHS risks
  • Ensuring the business/undertaking has appropriate processes for receiving and consideration information regarding incidents, hazards and risk and responding in a timely way
  • Ensuring the business/undertaking has and implements processes for complying with its WHS duties and obligations at law
  • Verifying the provision and use of resources to comply with the above

 

Managing Absenteeism and Injured Employees

This program is suitable for Front-line Managers

TOPICS

It will cover topics including:

  • Understanding the law around discrimination, contracts, policies and worker’s compensation
  • Review of organisation’s experience with handling absenteeism and injured employees
  • How much accommodation must be made?
  • Independent medical opinions
  • Interactions with worker’s compensation insurer

The Fundamentals of People Management

This program is suitable for Managers and Leaders

TOPICS

It will cover topics including:

  • Your organisation’s policies and procedures
  • Overview and development of industrial relations in Australia
  • Understanding the contract of employment and how to effect variations of contracts
  • Workplace Behaviour
  • Overview of the Work Health and Safety regulatory framework
  • The do’s and don’ts of recruitment
  • Importance of inductions and on-boarding
  • Understanding and managing contractors and casuals
  • Performance Management
  • Managing absenteeism and long-term injured employees
  • Dealing with flexible work requests and parental leave
  • Employers’ rights in addressing employee mental health and drug and alcohol issues
  • Terminations of employment and the different types
  • Post-employment issues

Behaviour and Culture

This program is suitable for Managers and Leaders

TOPICS

It will cover topics including:

  • Your organisation’s values and principles
  • Comments on a changing workplace
  • Social media
  • Out-of-hours conduct (work functions, kick-on-events and private functions)
  • Client and customer interactions
  • Consensual relationships
  • Bullying in the performance management context
  • Nicknames and other workplace “norms”
  • Appropriate topics of conversation in the workplace and banter
  • Sharing “too much information”
  • High profile cases such as the David Jones and the PwC cases

Performance Managing for Business Excellence

This program is suitable for Managers and Leaders

TOPICS

It will cover topics including:

  • Introducing a high performance culture in your organisation
  • Why managers struggle to performance manage well
  • Having the “crucial conversations”
  • Termination at the employer’s initiative: the unfair dismissal context
  • Potential legal claims resulting from termination and consequences
  • Operation of relevant laws
  • Suggestions for holistic performance management
  • Managing the exit and post-exit

Senior Executive Coaching

PCS will conduct a briefing meeting with the leader responsible for the candidate; personality and social styles assessment conducted; one-on-one sessions; and a report-back meeting with leader.

When employees’ social media activities impact on their employer

Jessica Anderson, Graduate Associate 

Social media has enhanced the opportunity for everyone to voice their opinions on a diverse range of subjects. But an employer does have at its disposal mechanisms to counter the publishing of content on social media by their employees that may be detrimental to it, even where this occurs outside of work or does not directly involve work matters.

In 2013, Army Reservist Bernard Gaynor published insulting comments on social media about a transgender officer and the “threat” of Islam. He also made comments criticising the federal government and a number of Australian Defence Force (ADF) policies. When asked to remove his posts, he refused. He was subsequently dismissed pursuant to the ADF’s power under Defence Force (Personnel) Regulations 2002 (Cth), which enabled the ADF to take disciplinary action to maintain the high standards of discipline required.

In 2015, Gaynor challenged this decision, claiming that his comments were protected by the implied constitutional right of freedom of political communication. While he was initially successful in his claim, the Full Court of the Federal Court’s recent decision upheld the ADF’s right to sack Gaynor over his extreme social media comments. The regulation used by the ADF to dismiss Gaynor was found not to be designed to control freedom of communications, but rather was directed at the suitability of individuals to remain as officers of the ADF. The Court also ruled that in any event the implied freedom of political communication was only a limitation on the exercise of legislative power, and did not apply to all terminations resulting from inappropriate social media comments.

While most employers do not operate under these types of regulations, employers are able to act with respect to social media comments that affect their interests, just as the ADF could act to protect its interests.

As such, we have put together some reminders to help employers find the appropriate balance between allowing employees to express themselves through social media and maintaining the interests of the employer.

The employer’s interests

Employees must be guided by the interests of the employer. These interests may include reputation, appropriate standards of behaviour, as well as the proper way of dealing with clients.They are representatives of the organisation and should be made aware of their responsibilities to uphold the organisation’s reputation and business interests

Social media policies

As an employer, you can restrict how your employees use social media, to the extent that is necessary to protect the interests of your organisation. It is helpful to tailor your social media policy to fit the nature of the organisation. For example, what types of public interactions are necessary for the functioning of your business? Do you use social media to attract potential clients?

Policies help to ensure that employees are aware of their responsibilities in expressing views online and the consequences that may flow from their actions. Policies should make clear that social media should not be used for the purposes of inappropriate workplace behaviour, such as bullying or harassment. Gaynor should have known that his comments breached a number of policies, but he refused to take down his posts, which is where the difficulty started.

The tech tips that are sometimes forgotten

Content should be considered permanent and searchable, and content intended to be private may be re-broadcast. Make it known to employees that content they post on social media may be associated with their employer. Employees are often searchable on the organisation’s website, or perhaps the first two hits on google when typing in someone’s name could be their LinkedIn account or their Twitter account. Whether intentional or not, employees are readily linked with their employer.