When it comes to potential workplace health and safety penalties, this is what every travel, human resources and general manager should know. In this article we will cover some of the possible workplace health and safety penalty categories, business travel risk management and workplace health and safety for business travel that complies with the company’s social and legal obligations. By reading this article you will be able to confirm the potential workplace health and safety penalties for deliberate and unintentional breaches and determine if you or your company truly have a demonstrable travel risk management system that supports workplace health and safety and fulfills your social and legal duty of care objectives.
Categories for Workplace Health and Safety Penalties
Emerging standardization of workplace health and safety penalties are defined by three categories of breaches.
The three categories of offence are:
• Category 1 - for reckless conduct that exposes an individual to a risk of death or serious injury or illness and is engaged without reasonable excuse
• Category 2 - failure to comply with a heath and safety duty and exposing an individual to a risk of death or serious injury or illness, and
• Category 3 - failure to comply with a health and Safety duty.
While the categories may vary in terminology and ranking across various jurisdictions it typifies the priority and focus of the courts and regulatory bodies.
Financial penalties for each category range from a tens of thousands of dollars upwards of a few million dollars per offence and official or company.
No exemption or special exclusion has been granted for business travel.
Business Travel and Travel Risk Management
Bad things happen to good people all the time. Business travel does have the potential for hazards, threats and risks that can result in serious bodily harm or death. Reckless conduct by officers of the company, charged with the duty of care of their workers, without reasonable excuse, are likely to face the highest category 1 offence in the event of serious injury or illness as a result of exposure to business travel risk.
Failure to comply with your duty applicable to work health and safety regulations and legislation during the conduct of business travel, resulting in the exposure of an individual to a risk of death or serious injury or illness is likely to see the company and its officials face category 2 penalties.
Simple failure to comply with the company and official’s duty towards workplace health and safety will result in category 3 penalties.
It is also worth noting that these penalties for breaches are excluding any civil action and are overlapping obligations, meaning that the same breach could have a number of causes and that each duty holder may be prosecuted for their part in the breach.
Workplace Health and Safety and Travel Risk Management
The level of offence for breaches of workplace health and safety duties in relation to travel risk management will be dependent on the case and the detail of the breach. Each duty holder will have to be able to prove that they carried out their duties as required, for instance due diligence and reasonable care.
Policy and process without implementation or continuous improvement will likely constitute a failure to fully comply with the appropriate standard of duty of care and workplace health and safety.
Conclusion: Travel Risk Management and Workplace Health and Safety Penalties
Now that you understand the importance of workplace health and safety by legal opinions, you will probably see your approach in a whole new light. Workplace health and safety does apply to business travel and your business travellers. We have covered some of the possible workplace health and safety penalty categories, business travel risk management and workplace health and safety for business travel that complies with the companies social and legal obligations. In order to prove or effectively demonstrate that you have included the workplace health and safety you need consistent, auditable, appropriate and implemented evidence if you are to mitigate or eliminate the risks associated with business travel, convey confidence to business travellers that you are proactively fulfilling your duty of care and defend or confirm your compliance with the various acts and legislation. Objectively review your current preparedness and process specific to travel risk management and use this advice to make your comparison and rectify any omissions to your processes immediately.
Travel Risk Management and Workplace Health and Safety Penalties by
Tony Ridley and Jason Parsons