Due Diligence is addressed in government legislation under the Alberta Occupational Health & Safety Act and is commonly referred to as the “General Duty Clause” (L10115). The clause reads:
“Every employer shall ensure, as far as reasonably practical for them to do so, the health and safety of workers engaged in the work of that employer, and those employees not engaged in the work of that employer but present at the work site at which the work is being carried out; that the workers engaged in the work of that employer are aware of their responsibilities and duties under this Act and the regulations.
Every worker shall, while engaged in an occupation, take reasonable care to protect the health and safety of him/herself and of other workers present while he/she is working, and co-operate with his/her employer for the purpose of protecting the health & safety of him/herself, other workers engaged in the work of the employer, and other workers not engaged in the work of that employer but present at the work site at which that work is being carried out.”
Due Diligence simply means taking all reasonable steps to protect the well being of employees, co-workers, students and visitors. In order to comply with the standard of due diligence, all reasonable precautions must be taken, even to the point of exceeding generally accepted practices. Due diligence requires the identification of hazards and the implementation of specific preventative measures to protect employees from loss, injury, illness and disease.
Why should you practice due diligence? In the event of an accident or injury occurring, there is the potential for liability against individuals as well as corporations and institutions. The liability for environmental, health and safety losses or offenses is based on common law principles and ignorance of the law is no defense.(Occupational Health & Safety Act; Alberta Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act). Due diligence requires proactive management and corporate and individual accountability.
Practicing due diligence means providing reliable, serviceable and maintained protective equipment and materials appropriate for the hazard. It also means ensuring that the employees and students are competent for the tasks they are required to perform and that they understand all instructions, information and supervision. Records should be kept of all training, inspections, safety meetings, equipment maintenance, incidents, and investigations. Written policies and procedures need to be developed and a job demands analysis needs to be conducted before designing any training program.
The practical steps for implementing due diligence are:
- Be Aware
- Be Objective
- Be (Pro)Active
- Take Care
- Take Note