Due Diligence

Under Canadian occupational health and safety legislation, everyone responsible for health and safety must ensure that all precautions reasonable under the circumstances are taken to protect the health and safety of workers.

Due diligence looks at what was done before an accident occurred, not what was done after. Here are the key concepts:

  • Reasonably practicable - the standard is a reasonable and prudent person, acting with common sense and taking reasonable care. It is a higher standard than simply "the average person"
  • Degree of risk - the approach chosen to carry out a task depends on the degree of risk. The higher the risk, the greater the safety measures that must be taken

Criteria for Employers

  1. Establish a safety program that identifies hazards and assesses and manages their risks. The plan should reduce the likelihood of the hazards causing harm
  2. Ensure the program will meet the needs of the workplace and the workers. It must reflect the nature of the workplace and the type of work, as well as the hazards that exist
  3. Monitor and evaluate the program's effectiveness. A process must be in place for staff to regularly check the effectiveness of the program

If faced with a WorkSafeBC order, penalty or possible prosecution, a manager must show that they acted with due diligence. Sufficient documentation of safety program activities is necessary. Learn more about WorkSafeBC inspections.

WorkSafeBC's Due Diligence Checklist (PDF, 43KB) outlines key requirements for managers to consider to determine if their safety program would meet the due diligence.