Frequently Asked Questions
1. Does registration with Workcover SA automatically mean we have to pay levies?
In South Australia all businesses are required to register with WorkCover SA.
While registration is a legal obligation this is different to the payment of levies which is based on a company’s remuneration.
So it’s important to check your company’s remuneration base and how this compares against the minimum remuneration threshold set by WorkCover SA before levies must be paid.
2. How do formal Management Systems assist with the operation and improvement of my business?
The benefits of using formalised management systems are extensive. Correctly implemented, management systems can be used to improve efficiency, increase profit and reduce liability to legal, regulatory and consumer claims.
Without controlled processes and systems variations in manufacturing output and services can lead to unhappy clients, injured employees, raw material waste, excess inventory, production or service delays and spiralling costs.
3. How do I determine if the Company has beneficiaries, contractors or employees?
Beneficiaries of a trust receive benefits that are not classified as salary or wages particularly if those payments can be shown as irregular.
In a small, closely linked family trust the beneficiaries, directors and employees may all be the same people. Consequently, payments made to them by the trustee may be in different ways, either as beneficiaries or as employees.
Generally controlled and defined by the term ‘Contract for Service’, contractors are paid for the results achieved, set their own working hours to meet the contract’s specifications and supply their own equipment, machinery, methods, plant or tools to complete their tasks.
Generally controlled and defined by the term ‘Contract of Service’, employees receive regular payments based on the time they work and under the control of an agreement or award. Further, the employer provides the equipment, machinery, methods, plant or tools to complete their tasks.
4. How do the principles of formal and documented Management Systems relate to the operation of my business?
Documented Management Systems
Procedures and records respectively provide the standard and proof against which the organisation can maintain, sustain and measure improvement.
Records are the ‘real-time’ evidence that a given task has been completed in accordance with standard work practices and allows for traceability of actions, activities, product and services.
The data can then be used in a number of ways but most importantly for monitoring trends and improving business performance.
Documentation and records also provide the evidence needed to demonstrate due diligence in any litigation.
“I’ve heard stories that there is way too much paper involved. Why?”
This statement is a common misconception and misinterpretation.
Well designed business management systems aim to reduce complexity & duplication including the amount of paper used. And remember, the various standards state that management systems can take any form or be in any medium.
Irrespective of formal & documented management systems, if you are using too much paper it is probably a sign that your processes and systems are overly complex or have ‘in-built’ levels of duplication!
5. How do we determine the priorities of business hazards?
After having identified the hazards our businesses are exposed to it is important to assess their significance. Without assessment, managers may try and control all hazards simultaneously and this is neither financially viable nor physically possible.
Risk is a common word ‘bandied’ around and yet it has quite specific application and meaning. It is the ‘chance’, ‘likelihood’ or ‘probability’ that an event will occur while the hazard is present.
Despite popular belief, hazards and risks are not the same.
The method of risk assessment allows us to objectively measure the extent or size of the risk associated with each hazard. Once all hazards have been assessed for risk level the data can then be ranked for significance.
This facilitates a strategic approach and improves resource management.
Based on priority and significance each hazard and risk can be controlled using a hierarchy (menu) of control options.
6. If the company has beneficiaries, contractors or employees, how are levies affected?
The classification of beneficiaries, contractors and employees will determine the distribution of capital or monies and though this may alternate between the three in a small trust it will be important to maintain accurate records so that benefits can be clearly distinguished from remuneration.
7. Is there a common theme for planning within risk management themes and how do they relate to the operation of my business.
It has been discussed that formal hazard and risk analysis uses a strategic approach to identify opportunities and weaknesses within business operations.
The collation and analysis of all data from hazard identification and risk assessment leads to logical conclusions about the most important priorities to be addressed. This can assist with business management planning and budgeting in order to progressively manage business hazards and risks.
Business management planning requires some discipline, practice and regular review. Plans are designed to be flexible and not ‘set in stone’ as both external and internal business conditions can change and planning needs to accommodate these changes.
However, make sure you can monitor or track:
• What needs to be done to achieve the objective(s)
• Who is going to complete the actions
• When the actions are to be completed
• How realistic the actions are
• How easily the actions can be measured
Therefore, ensure that the objective and / or your plans are S.M.A.R.T –
8. What are the requirements for registering Companies operating as trusts?
If employees are receiving wages then there is a requirement to register the organization with WorkCover SA. This includes all forms of remuneration as defined within the Workers’ Rehabilitation and Compensation legislation. For example, allowances, bonuses, directors’ fees, superannuation etc.
Other than as a trustee, the trustee company does not normally have any income and will not pay director’s fees or remuneration. If distributions of capital or monies paid by the Trust to beneficiaries of the trust are not receiving remuneration, superannuation, wages etc. then there is no need to register.
WorkCover SA cannot register trusts and there is a requirement to register the ‘Trustees’ of the trust.
Therefore, it will be important to supply the names of the partners and advise WorkCover SA of changes to contact details.
9. What is a hazard?
A hazard is anything with the potential to cause damage, harm or injury. We often limit our thinking of hazards to personal injury. Thought about more broadly, business hazards exist externally to and within operations.
• Compliance (industry & regulatory)
• Employee & Industrial Relations
• Occupational Health & Safety
A common theme within risk management systems is hazard identification. That is, analysing our business processes and systems to clearly understand where our exposures are located.
10. What are the common Risk Management themes and how do they relate to the operation of my business?
All businesses carry differing levels of inherent and controlled (residual) risk. Understanding your business and processes in detail can help you to identify where the exposures are lurking, the type and size of threat they represent.
Fortunately, there are common themes and tools to assist you. Combined with understanding some basic definitions, the disciplined application of these tools is the key to success.