An enforceable undertaking, also known as a work health and safety (WHS) undertaking, is one of the options available to NT WorkSafe to promote compliance with WHS laws. A person can propose an enforceable undertaking to NT WorkSafe as an alternative to facing prosecution for contravening or allegedly contravening the Work Health and Safety (National Uniform Legislation) Act, with the exception of a category one offence.

What is an enforceable undertaking?

An enforceable undertaking is a legally-binding agreement between NT WorkSafe and the person who proposed the undertaking. Once accepted by NT WorkSafe, the enforceable undertaking requires the person to carry out the specific activities outlined in the undertaking.

The activities proposed in the enforceable undertaking should improve not only the health and safety at the workplace, but also deliver health and safety initiatives to the relevant industry and the broader community.

When a proposed undertaking is accepted, any legal proceedings connected to the alleged contravention are stopped. Where legal proceedings have not started, acceptance of the undertaking will mean that no proceedings will commence.

Benefits of an enforceable undertaking

An enforceable undertaking:

  • provides for significant and ongoing commitments that aim to achieve improved WHS outcomes and compliance
  • provides an opportunity for organisational reform to implement effective workplace health and safety
  • provides an opportunity for the person to communicate to their industry peers and the community generally about the consequences of unsafe work practices and the opportunities that putting in place safe work practices can bring.

What makes up an enforceable undertaking?

An enforceable undertaking must contain the following information:

  • particulars about the person proposing the undertaking
  • details of the alleged contravention
  • an acknowledgment that NT WorkSafe has alleged a contravention has occurred
  • a statement of assurance about future WHS behaviour, and
  • a statement of regret that the incident occurred.

The enforceable terms that are part of the undertaking include:

  • cease the behaviour that led to the alleged contravention
  • a commitment to the ongoing effective management of WHS risks
  • providing details of tangible health and safety initiatives that will be delivered to benefit workers, industry and the community
  • disseminate information about the undertaking within the workplace
  • where required, implement and maintain an occupational health and safety management system (OHSMS) acceptable to NT WorkSafe
  • where required, undertake auditing of the OHSMS by a suitably qualified third party auditor, forward reports from the audits to NT WorkSafe, and implement the agreed actions arising from the report.

NT WorkSafe will monitor compliance with the terms of the undertaking.

For more information, contact NT WorkSafe.

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