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Developing an Enforceable Undertaking Strategy

Advanced Buildings and Restorations (ABR) is a National Company with offices across the Eastern Seaboard of Australia. We operate in the insurance building space, an industry with a heavy reliance on subcontractors and exposure to high risk. The reliance on subcontractors provides an added complexity in managing WHS and ensuring that a safe workplace is provided.

ABR experienced this complexity firsthand in February 2019, when we engaged subcontractors to undertake roofing work on two industrial buildings. The job required the workers to remove asbestos roof sheets and replace them with Colorbond metal sheets. The roof of the building gave way whilst workers were undertaking the removal of asbestos roof sheets. Four workers fell approximately four meters from the roof. Two of the workers who fell from the roof were injured and required medical attention.

Following the incident, ABR was faced with the confronting realisation that our processes had placed workers at serious risk. Whilst we always took WHS seriously, like many other employers, we never thought this would happen to us. ABR faced another dark day when we learned the fate of the incident and SafeWork NSW advised us they would be prosecuting. Facing a fine in the vicinity of $600.000,00 along with massive reputational damage and a potential impact of loss of work due to a WHS prosecution, ABR engaged in an exercise of exploring the option of an Enforceable Undertaking (EU).

The first crucial step of entering into an EU, is getting the commitment of the business to the EU. We were fortunate to receive backing from the entire business starting from our Directors, CEO and the ELT to all workers. We all saw the benefit of the EU option and the impact this will have on the business. This commitment gave us the confidence to approach SafeWork and request an EU, which was granted subject to a comprehensive set of strategies.
In building the strategies, the Safety group brainstormed the main aims of an EU and considered ‘what do we want to achieve?’. After careful consideration and an in-depth analysis of the requirements, the team arrived at the following desired outcomes of the EU:

  1. We wanted to tackle the EU head on and not shy away from the fact that we have engaged in one,
  2. We wanted to ensure that we improve and overhaul our HSE management system,
  3. We wanted to give something back to the industry and the community to ensure that we leave a legacy which will make our industry safer.

We then progressed our work in developing the final high-level strategies, being the following:

  1. Providing a public notice and notification to all subcontractors which we engage, advising we are subject to an EU and the details surrounding this.
  2. Ensure our staff are kept up to date with the EU and the process we are engaged in.
  3. Undertake a complete review of our HSE management system and implement recommendations as per external Auditor reports.
  4. Implement an automated WHS Management System to assist us in managing our HSE responsibilities.
  5. Work with the Centre for WHS to undertake research on contractor management with the intended outcome to identify and implement appropriate solutions and strategies to better manage subcontractors.
  6. Provide a community contribution via WHS student placements, cadetships, and scholarships to assist a new wave of WHS professionals.

The proposed strategies resulted in Advanced Buildings (NSW) Pty Ltd entering into an Enforceable Undertaking on Thursday 20 April 2023 with SafeWork NSW.

While the initial incident in February 2019 resulted in significant injuries to several workers and could potentially have had much more serious consequences, the option to enter into an EU agreement has already resulted in many positive outcomes for our business. In the first 6 months of our EU, our workplace is starting to see the benefits from the robust strategies we have commenced and it is our hope that the improvements being undertaken at ABR will allow other businesses’ to learn and benefit from our experience, and this will subsequently improve the safety of workers more widely across the industry

Modern Slavery Statement

Modern slavery describes situations where offenders use coercion, threats, or deception to exploit victims and undermine their freedom.

Practices that constitute modern slavery can include:

  • human trafficking
  • slavery
  • servitude
  • forced labour
  • debt bondage
  • forced marriage, and
  • the worst forms of child labour

Modern slavery is a term used to describe serious exploitation. It does not include practices like substandard working conditions or underpayment of workers, though these practices are also harmful and may be present in some situations of modern slavery.

Advanced Buildings and Restorations (ABR) agrees with the principles of the Modern Slavery Act 2018 (Cth) that commenced operation on 1 January 2019. As a leader in our industry, ABR recognises the importance of our commitment to ensure the operation of our business is done in an ethical and lawful manner by ensuring we only work with those businesses who are aligned to our core values.

ABR expects our suppliers to operate in accordance with all applicable modern slavery laws including those prohibiting human slavery and slavery like practices, human trafficking and child labour. We value and observe all laws regarding corporate social responsibility, environmental and workplace safety protection and staff inclusion and diversity.

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Australian Capital Territory

ACT Licence: 2020555

ACT – CANBERRA OFFICE
Level 1, 1 Cessnock Street
Fyshwick ACT 2609
Ph: 1300 87 86 87
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Victoria

VIC Licence: CB-U 45280 DB-U 45281

VIC – MELBOURNE
Unit 2/73 Wharf Road
Port Melbourne VIC 3207
Ph: 1300 87 86 87
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New South Wales

NSW Licence: 230622C

NSW – SYDNEY HEAD OFFICE
Level 1, 117 Queen Street
NORTH STRATHFIELD NSW 2137
Ph: 1300 87 86 87
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NSW – CENTRAL COAST HUNTER REGION
Unit 6/34 Alliance Avenue Morisset NSW 2264
Ph: 1300 87 86 87
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NSW – SYDNEY RESTORATION FACILITY
Unit 7 / 167 Magowar Road
GIRRAWEEN NSW 2145
Ph: 1300 87 86 87
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NSW – NORTHERN NSW
Unit 6/4 Ascot Road BALLINA NSW 2478
Ph: 1300 87 86 87
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Queensland

QBCC Licence: 1209932

QLD – BRISBANE OFFICE
92 Flinders Parade
NORTH LAKES QLD 4509
Ph: 1300 87 86 87
After Hours, Emergency Works: 1300 87 86 87
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QLD – GOLD COAST OFFICE
Unit 2/7 Indy Court
CARRARA QLD 4211
Ph: 1300 87 86 87
After Hours, Emergency Works: 1300 87 86 87
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QLD – TOOWOOMBA OFFICE
6 Aspect Street
NORTH TOOWOOMBA QLD 4350
Ph: 1300 87 86 87
After Hours, Emergency Works: 1300 87 86 87
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Company Profile

State Licence Numbers

Queensland: 1209932

New South Wales: 230622C

Australian Capital Territory: 2020555

Victoria: CB-U 45280 DB-U 45281

Queensland:
1209932

New South Wales:
230622C

Australian Capital Territory:
2020555

Victoria:
CB-U 45280 DB-U 45281