Due Diligence workshop

This workshop explores the dangers of bureaucracy in risk and safety management, how safety bureaucracy can undermine workplace safety, and what businesses can do about it. 


For the past two decades risk and safety management has become increasingly associated with administration and bureaucracy creating increased pressure at every level of an organisation to comply with rules and regulations in the pursuit of improved health and safety performance. 

While occupational health and safety incidents are reportedly declining, the frequency of major accidents has increased across high-risk industries.Studies also show a strong correlation between a rise in bureaucracy in health and safety and an upsurge in accident rates. All this raises an important question. Are documented systems in risk and safety achieving their purpose?



What is due diligence?

Due diligence is, at its core, the alignment of process with purpose. 

For many organisations, the management of risk and safety is centred on regulatory and legal compliance, typically described through policies, procedures, rules and checklists. As we strive to demonstrate and evidence this compliance- compliance with the process – proving compliance with the process becomes the end goal. We search for evidence that a process has been followed rather than evidence that the process has achieve the outcome for which it was designed – its purpose. 

Moreover, much of what we do in the name of compliance, evidence gathering exercises, such as audits, inspections, and site visits, become instruments of power and control which disengage the workforce from the safety management system and undermine its credibility. 

Compliance is no longer about managing and measuring the effectiveness of our systems; rather it turns into a meaningless exercise of ensuring paperwork has been completed – whether that paperwork contributes to a safe workplace or not. 

Due diligence provides a framework to re-align documented systems(the process) with their original purpose.


The first two modules explore the safety and legal implications when documented systems (i.e., the process) become disconnected from their intended purpose – when safety management becomes bureaucratic. 

In the third and fourth module we will help you create a “common narrative”about the purpose of documented safety management systems and build strategies and tools to meaning fully comply with documented processes.

Learning outcome

  1. Understand the limitations of documented systems to manage health and safety, and legal, risk.
  2. Identify how bureaucracy can infect documented systems, undermining their effectiveness and contributing to an illusion of safety.
  3. Build a philosophy of compliance centred on the achievement of purpose rather than the completion of process.
  4. Create strategies to work within existing safety management systems to add meaning and value to risk and safety management at every level of the organisation. 



Module 1

Defining the problem


We begin with understanding the purpose of due diligence i.e., our current approach to managing and measuring the effectiveness of documented processes. How does this help and what purpose does it serve? 


At the end of the first session, the participants will develop a sound understanding of our existing approach to due diligence. 

Module 2

Operational and legal implications


What are the business and legal implications of the disconnect between documented processes and their purpose? 


Through a range of cases and examples, participants will recognise how the disconnect between documented systems and their intended purpose translates into operational inefficiencies and safety issues, widens the gap between process and practice and exposes us to reputational and legal risks. 

Module 3

The participants experience 


How do participants view the implications of disconnect between documented systems and their purpose from their perspective? 


In this session, the participants will have the opportunity to share their experiences, ask open-ended questions and seek clarifications. 

Module 4

The participants experience 


How can we develop strategies and framework to reconnect documented systems with their intended purpose? 


As part of the final session, we will offer some strategies and practical tips for the participants to manage legal and operational risks. 

Greg Smith

Greg Smith is the Principal of Wayland Legal, a niche legal practice specialising in employment and WHS advice.

He has spent more than two decades specialising in safety and health management, focusing on helping clients to understand organisational and individual responsibility for safety and health, and implement and verify processes to discharge those responsibilities.

Greg is an international award winning author and qualified lawyer who has worked as a partner and legal practitioner in some of Australia’s leading law firms. In addition to his legal experience, Greg has worked as the Principal Safety Advisor for WoodsideEnergy Limited. In that role, he reported to the Vice President Safety and Health, and was responsible for the ongoing development and implementation of Woodside’s global safety management strategy. Greg also teaches accident prevention as part of the School of Public Health, Health, Safety and Environment at Curtin University inPerth, Western Australia.

Greg is the author of the book, Management Obligations for Safety and Health, co-author of Risky Conversations: The Law, Social Psychology and Risk and editor of Contractor Safety Management.

Nippin Anand

Nippin Anand is a master mariner with a Master’s degree in Economics and Trade Policy and PhD in Social Sciences and Cultural Anthropology. Nippin is an internationally recognised specialist in safety management and accident investigations. His significant experience in the maritime, oil and gas sectors spans hands-on operations, academic research, consultancy, and certification and regulation. He is keenly sought both as a consultant and a guest speaker.

About Novellus Solution 

We are a UK based company with world class expertise in Human Factors and Safety Management Systems. We regularly facilitate learning events with the view to promote innovation across safety critical industries. We do this through a series of short presentations followed by active listening, intensive discussions and even disagreements. Learning and improvement inevitably follows.