Employers will need to think seriously about their work, health and safety obligations as part of their procurement under the upcoming national OHS regime, according to a law firm.
The procurement process, from tender planning and specification selection through to contract management and post-contract implementation, will need to be examined, said Stuart Robertson, a senior lawyer in the commercial group at Australian Government Solicitor.
One important aspect of this process is getting the specification right in buying the right goods or services, he said.
“So for example, are they suitable for the purpose or the intended use? And in identifying that, are there any work, health and safety risks which are inherent to those goods or services which have been procured?” Robertson asked.
Another important aspect to consider is selecting the right contractor, and he said organisations need to look at what information they need to determine if a contractor will meet required work, health and safety standards.
“So, for example, does your contractor have development expertise, qualifications and licences? Also, look at their work health and safety track record and methodology,” said Robertson, who was speaking as part of a recent Boardroom Radio presentation.
Another important point to consider when selecting contractors or providers of goods and services is whether they are familiar with the codes of practice and any specific requirements that apply to procurements.
“Clearly allocate the responsibilities under the contract, making it clear who’s responsible for what,” said Robertson.
After a contract has been signed, he said it is important that contract management planning takes into account work health and safety responsibilities.
“So, for example, that will be checking what has been delivered meets the specifications, ensuring those upstream duties [are met] and also considering the relationship with the contractor and its employees from a work health and safety perspective,” he said.
“So there are particular consultation, representation and participation requirements in relation to workers and others with whom they share duties.”