Unforeseen health and safety incidents can happen in any work environment. It doesn’t matter whether you work in an office, a retail store, or a warehouse—every worker is at risk of injuries in the workplace. Many times, however, we don’t think about reviewing or making changes to the health and safety program until after an incident happens.
As an employer, it’s your duty to protect your workers from workplace injuries and provide a safe environment, no matter what the job, and that begins with taking the steps to prevent incidents and proactively manage health and safety hazards. You may have heard the term “due diligence” used about health and safety in the workplace, but what does it actually mean?
In general terms, due diligence means that you’re taking all reasonable steps to satisfy a legal requirement. From a health and safety perspective, it means that you’re taking all the reasonable steps and precautions to protect the safety and well-being of your employees. You might think, “I already have a health and safety policy in place and have trained my employees. That’s probably enough, right?” But demonstrating due diligence goes beyond the scope of simply having a policy in place and providing training on the policy.
Employers need to be aware of anything that could affect their employees’ health and safety and have a plan in place to mitigate the risks. The key to due diligence is to establish a program before an accident or injury occurs. Due diligence isn’t just in place to prevent health and safety incidents from happening, it can also be used as a defence for any liabilities or offences under occupational health and safety legislation.
When an injury happens in the workplace, the burden of proof is put on the employer. If the employer can prove they took all reasonable precautions to prevent circumstances of accidents or injuries, they’re less likely to face legal repercussions when incidents do occur. How can you apply due diligence in your organization? Download our FREE Proactive Health and Safety Guide for practical tips you can begin using today!
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