What has been the NZ Experience with Enforceable Undertakings?
In Australia Enforceable Undertakings have been part of OHS regulatory regime for several years. However the uptake has been patchy and there is considerable debate about their effectiveness and impact.
One of the concerns that it is often raised is that EU's allow organisations to escape the punishment aspect failure to meet legal obligations. I don't hold to that view, I think that if the aim of OHS laws is steady improvement in standards and creation of systems of work that protect people, EU's have a role to play.
Interested in your thoughts.
Are Enforceable Undertakings a valuable part of the OHS regulatory framework
It depends (add a comment)
Richard, I have mixed views on EU's as yes they can be a really useful tool for some but I can also see how some may indeed use this as an escape from prosecution route and cheaper. The larger organisations with EU's have thus far seemingly yielded some excellent initiatives including one that has commenced an apprenticeship program. Some truly good things coming from their learning's. I often wonder on the amount of EU's coming out but I'm not in Worksafe shoes reviewing each case. Prosecutions can be a worthy conclusion but only if it does punish (use that word loosely) when absolutely necessary with, for arguments sake, cases of absolute or extreme negligence perhaps for utter disregard to safety but such punishment not to bankrupt the defendants but a bruise if you like. Again I'm not a solicitor....I think EU's have a place yes but controlled....
I think they are valuable, as they allow a defendant to avoid conviction by being proactive and working with workers, the victim, the industry and the community. At present an EU is likely to be a cost-effective solution for larger NZ businesses, but not necessarily for smaller ones where the cost may be disproportionate to the fine that would otherwise be imposed. Don't get me started on fines...
In Australia businesses say the compliance costs are a killer, but time will tell whether that experience manifests itself here.
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