You probably hear the words ‘Due Diligence’ a lot as it relates to health & safety in a workplace, but what does it really mean and what does an employer have to do in order to prove their Due Diligence at their workplace?
Under the Occupational Health & Safety Act (OH&S Act) it refers to ensuring that a company is doing everything within their power to provide a safe working environment for their workers.
There are many factors that weigh in on proving, that as an employer, you’ve done everything in your power to ensure a safe and healthy workplace for all you workers.
Proving and showing your Due Diligence involves many criteria that must be met.
Employers must first have up to date policies, procedures and programs to demonstrate that they have performed their safety gap analysis and workplace inspections to determine any hazards or potential hazards and also how they plan to control or mitigate those hazards.
Employers must also ensure that they are providing the proper training and education to their workers so that they can carry out work according to the established policies and programs.
Managers and supervisor must receive proper training to make sure they can be deemed a ‘competent person’ under the OH&S Act.
- A competent person is defined in the OH&S Act as someone who is qualified because of knowledge, training and experience to organize the work and its performance, is familiar with this Act and the regulations that apply to the work, and has knowledge of any potential or actual danger to health or safety in the workplace
Any new employees coming on board should be going through a complete health and safety orientation program to make sure they understand how to perform their work in a safe matter, for their safety and also for the safety of their coworkers, and so they know their rights as a worker.
Every worker must complete the mandatory Worker Safety Awareness Training as set forth from the Ministry of Labour. Supervisors must also complete mandatory training. This training needs only to be completed 1 time and is transferable as long as you can provide proof of completion to your new employer.
Every workplace must have their Health & Safety Board in place where is will be most visible to all their employees.
The Health and Safety Board will have the following materials posted on it:
- Occupational Health and Safety Act (Green Book)
- Applicable Regulations (Reg. 851 & 213)
- WHMIS 2015 Regulation
- List of names of the Joint Health and Safety Committee Members
- Last Minutes of the Joint Health and Safety Committee Meeting
- Health and Safety inspections, assessments, surveys or reports of incidents/accidents
- Orders from the MOL
- Emergency Numbers (Also to be posted near phones)
- Other explanatory material by the Ministry (Guide to the OHSA, Guide to Committees, etc.)
- Form 82 – In Case of Injury at Work
- First Aid Regulation 1101
- List of names of the employees with current First Aid and CPR TrainingThe Safety Data Sheet Book, including a chemical inventory, will be kept and will be accessible to all workers. (State on your board where this can be found)
Employers are responsible to monitor their workplace to make sure that all work is being performed according to the proper operating procedures. They must keep in their records, written documentation should an employee be found not following the policy and procedures.
Employers must have an accident and incident reporting system available. Employers should also encourage open communication with their employees in regards to reporting and hazards or unsafe work conditions. Once reported it is the employers responsibility to make sure the H&S Rep (companies with 6-19 workers) or their JHSC (companies with over 20 workers) investigate and determine if the report is valid. If valid the employer must ensure that they take the necessary steps to control or eliminate the hazard or condition.
Employers must also ensure that not only employees, but also any contractor, volunteer, intern or site visitors are following the same policies and procedures while at their workplace.
Documentation must be saved in your records to support Due Diligence such as;
- New worker orientation, education, and training.
- Proper training in order to perform a job such as; forklift, overhead crane, aerial lift, working at heights, lockout/tagout and more.
- Workplace inspection reports, including corrective actions taken.
- Accident / Incident reports, including corrective actions taken.
- Supervisor/Managers notes (e.g., supervisor inspections, meetings with workers or contractors regarding safety, etc.).
- Ensure that all contractors, interns, site visitors sign off on propoer operatoing procedures.
- Joint Health and Safety Committee meeting minutes.
- Equipment log books, maintenance records, daily & yearly inspection records
- Emergency response drills and exercises.
- Instructions or safe work procedures, including any changes.
- Up to date Health & Safety board
- Forms and checklists used when following safe work procedures (e.g., confined space entry permits, LockOut/TagOut procedures).
- Sampling and monitoring records from exposure testing such as noise or airborne particles
- Enforcement of health and safety rules and procedures.
As employers you can’t foresee the future or predict what an employee is going to do at any one time, but you can do everything reasonably possible to ensure the safety of your workforce.
Remember, Due Diligence is demonstrated from your actions before an accident happens, not after.
These are just some guidelines for showing Due Diligence but should not be considered legal advise. Each workplace is different and will therefore have their own process to determine their Due Diligence. If you’re unsure it’s best to have an experienced safety professional come to your workplace and perform a Due Diligence checklist for you.