Due diligence - a defence often used in courts - means that everything reasonable was established and implemented to prevent a violation or incident. So, when developing, maintaining and implementing a safety program, you must understand your legal responsibilities. You are required to develop policies and procedures, and keep records indicating clearly that you have fulfilled your responsibilities. Ignorance of the law is not a defence.
Here are some specific items that operators should consider to ensure due diligence:
- Knowing acts and regulations and keeping up to date with the changes
- Hiring qualified staff
- Documenting the responsibilities of staff involved in safety-related areas, as well as the general responsibilities of all staff in the workplace (for example, log-book requirements or emergency procedures)
- Educating staff on legislative requirements, company policies, procedures, rules and so on
- Monitoring internal safety systems to ensure compliance to written policies and to legislative requirements
- Informing staff of legislative or company policy changes
- Disciplining staff and documenting actions when they happen
- Keeping records to prove that a safety program has been established and implemented (for example, written policies and documenting training activities)
Due diligence requires that all policies, procedures and activities must be in place before collisions or violations occur.