The Regulator may accept an enforceable undertaking (also known as a work health and safety (WHS) undertaking), as an alternative to prosecution through the courts.
NT WorkSafe has introduced a two-stage process for the consideration of enforceable undertakings, based on the process developed by SafeWork NSW. The process involves a separate eligibility assessment being conducted to determine whether an enforceable undertaking may be an appropriate enforcement measure before the enforceable undertaking proposal is given.
An enforceable undertaking is a legally binding agreement between the Regulator and the person who proposed the enforceable undertaking. The person is obliged to carry out the specific activities outlined in the enforceable undertaking. The activities may be substantial.
An enforceable undertaking cannot be accepted for a contravention or alleged contravention for a category 1 or industrial manslaughter offence.
An enforceable undertaking (rather than a prosecution) will only be accepted if it demonstrates the following values:
- benefits to the workplace; and
- benefits to their industry; and
- benefits to the community
When a proposed enforceable undertaking is accepted, any legal proceedings connected to the alleged contravention are discontinued.
The Regulator is not compelled to accept a proposal for an enforceable undertaking.
Note: NT WorkSafe is headed by the Work Health Authority who is called “the Regulator” under the NT Work Health and Safety (National Uniform Legislation) Act 2011 (the Act).
Benefits of an enforceable undertaking
An enforceable undertaking provides:
- for significant and on-going commitments that aim to achieve improved safety in the workplace, industry and the community above the obligations set out in the Act;
- an opportunity for organisational reform to meet improved safety outcomes;
- 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.
Enforceable undertakings guidelines
These guidelines set out the approach NT WorkSafe takes to considering an offer of an enforceable undertaking from a person who has, or allegedly has, contravened the Act.
Enforceable undertakings customer service standard
This guide helps explain what an enforceable undertaking is, and how it can be formed.
Penalties for non-compliance
If an accepted enforceable undertaking is not complied with, penalties may apply.