Your questions answered: Do we need evidence from principal contractors that work has been closed out?

By Portner Press on November 5th, 2019
  1. Work Health & Safety Act
  2. Workplace health & safety regulations

Q
We engage principal contractors on our construction projects.

We also engage a third party to conduct an audit on each principal contractor once a year on each of their projects.

We then coordinate the completion of any actions with the principal contractor.

Do we need to get evidence of each closed action or is an email stating that action items are closed enough? We are based in WA.

A
In Western Australia, your company has an obligation to ensure, so far as is practicable, that:

  • your employees; and
  • individuals accessing workplaces owned or controlled by your company;

are not exposed to hazards when in, or accessing, the workplace.

Consequently, in order to reduce the risk of exposure to hazards, your company has a legal obligation to ensure that any action items raised in the external audit are sufficiently closed out.

Written confirmation from the principal contractors that action items have been closed out may be sufficient to satisfy your obligation.

However, your obligation is to ensure the reduction of hazards “as far as practicable”.

Therefore, to ensure that you have sufficiently discharged your obligation, and as a more prudent course of action, we recommend that you obtain evidence from the principal contractors that each action item has been closed out.

This will help you satisfy its obligation under health and safety legislation, and will help minimise any suggestions that you have not complied with your obligations.

What do you do when you’re faced with a difficult health and safety law question?

Why not ask a top Australian health and safety lawyer?

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