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Contractor management and OHS – getting it right!

Submitted on Wednesday, 1st August 2018

On Friday 13 July 2018 a free-range egg producer in Navarre near Stawell was convicted and fined $230,000.00 following the death of a contractor in an incident which involved a front end loader. The company, Grampians Free Range Poultry, pleaded guilty in the Horsham County Court to contravening section 26 of the Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Act, 2004, by failing to provide a workplace that was safe and without risk to health.

WorkSafe Victoria’s investigation of this incident determined that there were numerous mechanical and maintenance issues with the loader being used by the contractor.

Section 26 states that “a person who (as an owner or otherwise) has, to any extent, the management or control of a workplace must ensure that the workplace and the means of entering and leaving it are safe and without risks to health”. The employers’ duty of care, section 21(3) of the Act states that “a reference to an employee includes a reference to an independent contractor engaged by the employer and any employees of the independent contractor”. Therefore the duties of the employer under sections 21(1) & (2) apply to an independent contractor engaged by the employer and any of the contractor’s employees.

If you are unsure what your responsibilities are to contractors and whether your OHS Management System adequately caters for them from induction through to job completion, the Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry can assist in many ways.

First, if you don’t have a contractor management system we can develop your programme with you or, if you have a system in place we can review and revise it as necessary to ensure you achieve legislative compliance.

Secondly, should an incident occur that injures or could have injured an employee or a contractor, we can investigate on your behalf and recommend changes to ensure the incident does not re-occur.

Thirdly, we can provide training to relevant managers in relation to contractor management, and the things that your business needs to put into place, and to monitor, to ensure the safety of contractors at your workplace.

Finally, if you are a contractor and need help, we can work with you to ensure your processes will keep your team safe.

Get your contractor management right, give the Victorian Chamber a call now. It will cost a lot less than $230,000.00, no sleepless nights and no bad publicity either. Contact the team on 03 8662 5333 or hsw@victorianchamber.com.au.

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