Due diligence

Last updated: August 11, 2021

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

Due diligence looks at what was done before an accident occurred, not what was done after.

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 "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

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 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 do this regularly. For help, use the JOHSC Annual Evaluation Tool (DOCX, 150KB)

If faced with a WorkSafeBC order, penalty or possible prosecution, you must show that you acted with due diligence. You must provide sufficient documentation of safety program activities. Learn more about WorkSafeBC inspections.

WorkSafeBC's Due Diligence Checklist (PDF, 43KB) lists key requirements for you to determine if your safety program meets the due diligence criteria.