Ensuring the health and safety of workers in any organization is not just a moral or ethical responsibility for the employer. It is a legal responsibility that comes with prescribed obligations and mandatory requirements. All of these legislative requirements have been put into place to ensure that when we leave our homes to go to work every day, we are able to return to our homes, alive and in one piece.
When we look at the legislative obligations that are required of the employer there are two fundamental concepts that drive the employer’s duties and responsibilities. The first is due diligence. The second is the higher duty of responsibility an employer must provide in the protection of all workers.
These requirements, and the serious consequences of non-compliance, are explored in a recent article.
As noted in the article, the employer must ask itself “Have we done enough?” and “Have we gone beyond the minimum requirements?” The employer must prove that they have responded pro-actively and positively in answer to these questions.
Reading from the safety manual is not enough to ensure that an employee understands and is able to protect themselves in the workplace. There must be clear evidence that worker safety is embedded into the culture and practices of everyone in the organization.
If the employer does not ask and answer these questions of itself, they can be guaranteed that the legal framework, inspectors, and the courts will ask, with potentially devastating answers.
- In your current workplace, what clear evidence shows health and safety due diligence on the part of the employer?
- As a Human Resources professional, what steps will you implement for health and safety practices that go beyond minimum safety standards?
- Why do you think many employers do not understand the consequences of non-compliance with the law?