Due diligence is the level of judgement, care, prudence, determination, and activity that a person would reasonably be expected to do under particular circumstances.
Applied to occupational health and safety, due diligence means that employers shall take all reasonable precautions, under the particular circumstances, to prevent injuries or accidents in the workplace. This duty also applies to situations that are not addressed elsewhere in the occupational health and safety legislation.
To exercise due diligence, an employer must implement a plan to identify possible workplace hazards and carry out the appropriate corrective action to prevent accidents or injuries arising from these hazards.
"Due diligence" is important as a legal defense for a person charged under occupational health and safety legislation. If charged, a defendant may be found not guilty if he or she can prove that due diligence was exercised. In other words, the defendant must be able to prove that all precautions, reasonable under the circumstances, were taken to protect the health and safety of workers.
The conditions for establishing due diligence include several criteria:
All of the elements of a "due diligence program" must be in effect before any accident or injury occurs. If employers have questions about due diligence, they should seek legal advice for their jurisdiction to ensure that all appropriate due diligence requirements are in place.
Due diligence is demonstrated by your actions before an event occurs, not after.
More information on how to establish these programs is available through OSH Answers, including:
When reviewing your due diligence program, it may help to ask yourself the following questions:
|Do you know and understand your safety and health responsibilities?|
|Do you have definite procedures in place to identify and control hazards?|
|Have you integrated safety into all aspects of your work?|
|Do you set objectives for safety and health just as you do for quality, production, and sales?|
|Have you committed appropriate resources to safety and health?|
|Have you explained safety and health responsibilities to all employees and made sure that they understand it?|
|Have employees been trained to work safely and use proper protective equipment?|
|Is there a hazard reporting procedure in place that encourages employees to report all unsafe conditions and unsafe practices to their supervisors?|
|Are managers, supervisors, and workers held accountable for safety and health just as they are held accountable for quality?|
|Is safety a factor when acquiring new equipment or changing a process?|
|Do you keep records of your program activities and improvements?|
|Do you keep records of the training each employee has received?|
|Do your records show that you take disciplinary action when an employee violates safety procedures?|
|Do you review your OSH program at least once a year and make improvements as needed?|
Document last updated on January 15, 2008