The term 'Officer' is a new categorisation of person in your company
under the WHS Act.
It is absolutely essential to know who the officers are in your company
because under the WHS Act, officers have a very specific duty of due
diligence that must be exercised at all times.
A failure of an officer to exercise their primary duty under the Act
can result in a fine up to $600,000 and/or up to 5 years imprisonment.
So now you can see why it is so important that a PCBU recognises who
its officers are.
But like most things in this life, determining that is not as straight
forward as it may seem...
Who will always be an officer under the WHS Act?
The officers of a company will always include the following people:
So start by looking at your governance structure and determine from the
get go who the above people are in your company.
But is there somebody else in your company who may fit the
definition of an officer?
The broad definition of an Officer is:
A director or secretary of the corporation; or
A person who makes, or participates in making, decisions that
affect the whole, or a substantial part, of the business; or
A person who has the capacity to affect significantly the
corporation's financial standing
Generally speaking, a WHS Manager, although they may have varying
abilities to comment on the major decisions of a company, are not
usually a person who has actual or substantive control over the
business as a whole.
People who provide advice or recommendations to the 'decision-maker'
are generally not considered to be an Officer.
You need to look carefully at specific job descriptions and the level
of influence people have over the decision-making of the business when
evaluating the status of Officer.