What Are The Safety Considerations When Buying a New Business?

There are many guidelines on purchasing a new business, but what is often forgotten is the need to evaluate existing safety systems. Once you own the business any accidents and subsequent investigations will be made against you, the new owner, and therefore it’s critical to know the state of plant, machinery and the operating systems that will both protect the people and the company assets you have purchased. Arguing ‘we have only just bought the business’ as a defence will not hold any weight. In Australia a recent court ruling fined the old company and the new owner for a failed H&S system.

So when reviewing and conducting due diligence, make sure you evaluate the H&S performance. Look at annual reports, safety investigations, training records. Are plant and equipment on a regular maintenance schedule? Are contractors to the company required to submit their own H&S plans? Be rigorous in your assessment.