The question of liability is passed between developers, principle builders, managers, contractors and employees like a bomb with a rapidly burning fuse.
Merely ‘passing the buck’ won’t carry much weight in the event of an investigation by the workplace safety watchdog in any Australian state.
Persons in Control of Businesses or Undertakings (PCBU’s can include developers, principle builders, businesses responsible for work premises and others) must be aware that it is not as simple as pointing a finger or ‘passing the buck’ if an accident resulting in injury that occurs at their undertaking is investigated by the workplace safety watchdog. PCBU’s should be aware that they can never completely hold themselves harmless in the eyes of the watchdog.
However, with an effective and well managed Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) management system that clearly identifies the responsibilities of principle builders, senior managers, contractors and employees and requests contractor’s commitments towards OHS in the form of OHS management plans, OHS policies and Safe Work Method Statements.
PCBU’s while never holding themselves harmless can certainly go a long way to sharing the liability of adverse events during sub-contracted parts of their undertaking (project/production cycle) by justifiably obtaining the sub-contractors written commitment to conducting their works safely.
Also, it has been proven that clearly identifying roles, responsibilities and sub-contractor OHS requirements prior to the commencement of any physical works on site notably increases the awareness of OHS requirements and commitments to safe work practices on all levels.
Therefore the liability bomb may never even go off leaving all parties from developer to worker unharmed.
Posted By: Cathal Uniacke – firstname.lastname@example.org