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Case Study

Coles Group – large re-licence program

Completed 2022


Coles Group, a large, Australian-owned retailer self-insured for workers’ compensation engaged Verus after Queensland's Office of Industrial Relations (OIR) stepped up the number of workplace health and safety (WHS) audits self-insurers had to complete for licence renewal. The changes meant a significantly expanded proportion of the client’s sites now needed auditing, an increase largely driven by a desire for increased oversight following a range of industrial disasters.

The Challenge

For consistency across audits and reporting, Coles wanted to appoint a consulting firm that had OIR-approved auditors who were practical in engaging with site personnel and reviewing evidence. Timeframes were critical, with self-insurers unable to negotiate revised deadlines and only a finite number of approved auditors available with multiple licences due.

Project Goals

  • Complete a significant number of WHS audits for multiple entities with different WHS management systems. This required extensive travel over a large area.
  • Deliver consolidated audit reports that effectively summarised the self-insurers' WHS management system performance.
  • Develop audit plans for multiple self-insurers that met the critical timelines set by OIR, based on licence conditions.

The Insight

Our familiarity with Coles’ businesses and experience working across the industry and with the National Audit Tool meant we could take a practical rather than black-and-white view when evaluating evidence.

We considered operational requirements and the customer risk profile to determine compliance to audit criteria. We also coached site personnel to understand the audit criteria requirements and any gaps, and had auditors work closely together to ensure consistency in how evidence was evaluated and ratings were applied.

Verus’ strong reputation with the regulator also enabled additional resources to apply and be accepted as Self Insurance auditors to enable to program to be delivered in the tight timeframes.

The Solution

  • A tailored program that included bespoke audit tools to streamline audit activities and enabled a suitable number of sites to be audited within the tight timeframes.
  • A strong pool of auditors, which meant we could put forward additional auditors for approval by the regulator.