Due Diligence and Health and Safety in the Workplace
Due Diligence is a legal defence against charges under the Health and Safety laws. Due diligence means that an employer has taken every reasonable precaution and measure in the circumstances to prevent or limit the injury of an employee in the workplace. Due diligence must be established before the event in question took place, not afterward.
Some measures that employers must take in order to establish due diligence are written up-to-date health and safety policies and practices, showing that audits, identification of hazardous practices and conditions are identified, and measures are taken for prevention. Further, education and training must be provided by the employer, so that workers follow the procedures, policies, and practices in place.
Employers also have a duty to provide competent supervisors, by providing supervisors the training and knowledge necessary to perform inspections, respond to unsafe conditions/activities, and to educate employees to carry out their duties in a safe manner. Employers must hold both workers and supervisors accountable, and discipline any individuals in breach of proper health and safety practices.
The above are only general requirements of due diligence as it relates to an employer’s obligation to health and safety in the workplace. Seeking legal consultation is advisable, as safety measures will differ according to jurisdiction, industry, and organization of work (ie. use of sub-contractors, client interactions, etc). Thus, due diligence is a relative measure and must consider the unique circumstances in relation to work and health and safety.