Due Diligence: 5 Steps to Ensuring a Duty of Care in Your Workplace
Employers have a duty to take all reasonable precautions to keep their staff and anyone in the workplace (contractors and clients) safe from accidents and injuries. They have to identify possible risks, limit liability, and reduce the consequences of an incident as much as possible. Below is a summary of the steps every employer should take to ensure due diligence in their place of work. Please read on.
- Identifying Possible Workplace Hazards
As an employer or safety officer, you need to identify possible hazards in your work environment and implement corrective measures to mitigate the issue and prevent the future likelihood of the hazards leading to accidents. To achieve this, you need to conduct regular safety audits across all the departments. You should be keen on the policies and procedures allowed for the safe operation of different machinery and equipment. Ensure each equipment is operated accordingly, including safety ladders which are usually assumed to require no special skills to operate.
- Document the Results of Safety Audits
After conducting the safety audits, you need to document the findings including the safety policies and procedures used and the potentially hazardous situations identified. You should also account for the changes that were made to mitigate different situations. This step will be important for future referencing and to ensure no possible hazard is left unaddressed.
The employer should ensure all employees are provided with appropriate training. The training should be provided when an employee is recruited, when their roles change, when new equipment is installed, and when there are new changes in their field. During the training, you should also inform your employees of the findings of the safety audits and their responsibility in preventing the possible hazards. It’s important to keep documented records of training provided and how they were delivered for future reference. You can also ask your employees to sign an acknowledgement that they attended the training and are aware of their duty in promoting workplace safety.
You need to have a program in place to ensure compliance by employees to the relevant health and safety policies and procedures. You should ask your supervisors to perform random and regular checks and write a compliance review report. The report should contain any breaches and the progress of the employees towards establishing an efficient workplace safety culture. Ensure to also keep all records of violation and disciplinary actions taken.
- Encourage Employee Involvement
You need to establish documented procedures for employees to report workplace incidents and accidents. The incidents should include any ‘near-miss’ situations, which should be investigated accordingly to avoid preventable accidents in the future. You need to encourage an open working environment where employees have no fear of two-way communication. They should be able to submit their feedback and concerns to help you revise and improve existing policies and procedures, at the same time enhancing their safety.
The Bottom Line
As an employer, you have to establish a reliable due diligence defence before the occurrence of an incident and not after. Do not leave anything for chance. All the necessary safety measures should be put in place as soon as possible.