Handling Investigations With External Involvement
Any company who has an incident on site wants to make sure that it is investigated to the best of their ability. That effective actions are implemented to prevent a recurrence. But what happens when a government body is involved and they are also trying to get to the bottom of the incident? What happens when the people on site are doing their best to be helpful and forthcoming with the investigators? In a worst case scenario those people who are volunteering information could be putting themselves in a situation where they have no client - lawyer privilege and could self incriminate themselves with no recourse.
If a government representative gets on site and begins asking questions and people begin freely giving information this information can be used as evidence should the case go to court. This is not to say that an organisation should refuse to talk to investigators, it just means that your organisation should have in place a structured process for incident and crisis response when dealing with any government representatives.
With the recent announcement of a NSW company receiving a $1 million dollar fine for the electrocution of a worker under the Work Health and Safety Act, it has never been more timely for organisations to understand their legal obligations and duty of care to employees while at the same time understanding how to responsibly manage the stress of being investigated by government representatives.
If you would like to know more about where you stand with external investigations or your legal obligations including an assessment on how robust your existing systems are please call us.