Should the stock exchange listing rules include safety/accident/risk disclosures?

The Australian Stock Exchange listing rules include ‘continuous disclosure’ provisions.

The general rule (3.1) is that “Once an entity is or becomes aware of any information concerning it that a reasonable person would expect to have a material effect on the price or value of the entity’s securities, the entity must immediately tell ASX that information”.

Does that include significant accidents?  Maybe, as it might fit under the general rule.  Maybe not. The listing rules give a set of “non-exhaustive” examples.  Significant accidents, incidents, new risks, notices given by regulators, etc are not among these examples.  Should they be?

About John Culvenor

Hi, Thank you for taking a look at this blog. I work in engineering, ergonomics, creativity, design, training, etc. Often this is about helping solve legal puzzles through accident analysis. Sometimes it is about thinking up better designs for equipment, workplaces, and systems. This blog is about good design and bad design, accident analysis and how it can be done better, and how we can make a better, safer world by design!
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7 Responses to Should the stock exchange listing rules include safety/accident/risk disclosures?

  1. rodney currey says:

    This could have some merit, safety is considered in the tender process, so why not list safety information on the ASX. It can make investors know of a companys preformance as far as safety goes. So lets say information about a fatility should be passed on immeaditaly. I think for an investor it’s not unreasonable to have that information, as well as other info (environmental etc) on forming a productivity decision about a company.

  2. mikebehm says:

    John – In principle this is a good idea. In practice, I’m afraid that WHS doesn’t have valid and reliable metrics. In the traditional sense, this would make injury/illness rate “game playing” and “cheerleading” even that much more egregious. Fatalities are rare events and a bit more difficult to hide than injuries/illnesses; plus the safest day at any jobsite is likely the day after a fatality… What do folks think about realistic reliable and valid WHS metrics? Are they possible? Or will it be “worker washing” in the in name of short term financial gain (see John’s post “more on safety culture…7 Jan). I’m of the belief that safe workplaces are productive workplaces, but am pessimistic in the reliability and validity of current lagging indicator type measurements.

    • Hi Mike, The Corporations Act makes it illegal to make misleading statements. Remember, there’s money involved here. This is serious law. Not safety, but the real deal, investment! So if safety professionals are called upon to give advice about what the Company Secretary is going to release to the market it needs to be right. Do the have the indicators? If they don’t, the say “I don’t really know how we are going in safety”.

  3. rodney currey says:

    Many companies have values and mission statements in order to be seen as good corporate citizens etc. They are very sensitive to how there image is perceived by customers etc and will fiercely protect that image. Years ago companies that where big polluters where bought into line with the environmental movement (and then consumers) demanding they cease in polluting practices and develop greener products etc. I have always been environmentally conscious but don’t stop using electricity created by coal fired plants, but if I would be given an alternate green supplier I
    would certainly make the move to that supplier. So to suggest that fans would still buy world cup tickets knowing that so many where killed doesn’t mean that they don’t care is being ignorant. If people have an option to express an opinion they will choose. But clearly they don’t have that option that will matter or impact on a social issue where like i suggested above that people will “do without” without making an impact.
    People wont do without, so that doesnt mean we dont care about the construction killings.

    Lets all stop being igornate and as our laws suggest we have a duty of care even to these construction workers we dont know as this will make all of us better off!
    so yes i would buy tickets and enjoy the game, but am ready to dispose my “duty of care” as soon as i am able!

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