Why care about your Duty of Care?
We know people are your most valuable asset. A healthy and safe working environment builds trust and keeps your staff engaged, motivated and productive. We believe a duty of care approach enables this kind of environment, no matter where you are working.
All organisations have legal, moral and ethical obligations towards their people – they have a legal duty to ensure they have considered every reasonable step to keep their people healthy and safe. Morally and ethically, organisations should go above and beyond the minimum – you must demonstrate you value and care about your people.
We at Duty of Care International know this – we have worked in different settings and high-risk environments and have seen the huge benefits of supporting, growing and genuinely supporting people, at so many levels.
For the individual and their growth, confidence and wellbeing
For the manager and director, and their ability to support and grow their teams, and deliver quality work
For the organisation and its ability to meet its mandate, legal and moral obligations, be financially responsible and enhance its reputation as a quality organisation and preferred employer.
From a legal perspective, employers are responsible for providing their employees with a reasonably healthy and safe working environment.
In most jurisdictions, employment legislation dictates that employers must exercise a reasonable standard of care towards their employees, and this includes volunteers and consultants. Employers must be aware of the risks in the work environment which are foreseeable from a reasonable person’s perspective, and mitigate those they can and understand and inform their staff on those they can’t.
Employers have a responsibility to ensure
(1) their employees are able to do their role in the healthiest and safest way possible
(2) they provide up-to-date information to each employee on their role and working environment, and are clear about the risks, the measures the organisation is taking to reduce those risks and any residual risk the employee may be exposed to
(3) employees know their responsibilities and vulnerabilities when it comes to their own health, safety and security.
Collecting informed consent from each employee is assurance you have met the above.
Tested in a legal case heard in Norway in 2012, both the physical and psychological wellbeing of an employee fall into the Duty of Care remit. Stress-related or post-traumatic injury is becoming all too common an issue in the workplace and courts are taking personal psychological injury as seriously as physical injury – during and after an individual has left their employment.
Employers’ policies and procedures must reflect a Duty of Care relevant to the type of work and environment their employees work in and these will be used in a court or tribunal when assessing whether an employer has fulfilled its obligations towards its employees.
Responsibility to take care of your employees applies whether people work in high or low risk environments. It is likely a court will expect employers to take even further responsibility with those working in higher risk situations.
Due to the legal imperative duty of care carries, some of our products are reviewed by legal counsel, and stated accordingly.