Due Diligence at the Workplace

No one wants to hear about workplace injuries & fatalities. The human costs are great & can be tragic. Heavy penalties/fines & economic costs may also result. So what are you doing about it? Do you have set objects for health & safety, at the workplace, just like you do for quality, production & sales? Are you practicing Due Diligence?

According to Work Safe Alberta, Due Diligence is demonstrated by the actions taken before an incident occurs, not after the fact. Due diligence is a way of doing business & should be part of every workplace culture. When it comes to Due Diligence, 3 factors are key:

1) Foreseeable – could a reasonable person have foreseen that something could go wrong? If a group of your peers or others in the same industry know about hazards, you should too (ignorance is not a defense). Keep up-to-date, educated & aware of what your competition is doing. Be a leader in your industry when it comes to safe work procedures & practices.

2) Preventable – did you do everything reasonable/were steps taken to prevent an injury/incident? Assessment of health & safety hazards at the worksite are extremely important. This should be done daily/on-going by everyone. Formal safety audits should also be done.

Everyone should receive safety training. Workers & supervisors need to understand their roles. Monitor workers after training. Enforce safe work procedures & discipline when necessary (don’t ignore a worker’s lack of compliance when it comes to safety).

Document everything so that you can evaluate your health & safety program (identify gaps so that improvements can be made). Implement a hazard reporting procedure, encouraging employees to report unsafe conditions or practices to their supervisors. Investigate incidences if/when they happen (find ways to prevent them from happening again). 

3) Control – who was the responsible person present who could have prevented the incident? Were reasonable alternatives considered under the circumstances? Was the level of judgement, care, determination & actions taken by the people involved reasonable under these circumstances?

Take control to eliminate hazards & workplace incidences. Do everything reasonable practicable to keep your workplace safe. Integrate safety into all aspects of your work. Practice Due Diligence & show a genuine commitment to establishing & maintaining a culture of safety.

For detailed information about your responsibilities & duties under the Occupation Health & Safety Act, check this link: http://employment.alberta.ca/SFW/307.html