Manager Due Diligence: Meeting Legal & Ethical Responsibilities for Workplace Safety

supervisor in workplace talking to staff

If you are a manager or supervisor in a workplace, you know from the outset what the duties of your role entail.

In addition to the specific responsibilities – both day to day and ‘big picture’ – of your managerial or supervisory role, there are a number of duties that every manager or supervisor has when it comes to workplace safety.

This is called manager due diligence.

Failure to exercise due diligence can cost the company a large amount in the form of fines and/or other penalties – and can lead to the dismissal of the manager or supervisor who is remiss in his or her due diligence.

In some cases, a gross failure of supervisor or manager due diligence to protect the safety, health and welfare of workers under his or her authority can even result in prison time.

In this article we’ll cover why it’s imperative for companies and organizations to have clear policies, processes and practices of manager due diligence.

The Reasons Manager Due Diligence Exists

supervisor at construction siteThe essential responsibilities as a manager or supervisor start from the day you’re hired, or even before that, with a clear job description that your employer has created. You probably went through a training, hand-off or onboarding process to get more familiar with your role as supervisor or manager.

Depending on your employer, the job description may be more detailed or less, as this can vary from one company or organization to another.

Above and beyond the operational job responsibilities of every supervisor and manager in any workplace is the obligation to protect the health and safety of every worker under his or her authority (both directly and indirectly).

The responsibility of creating, maintaining and strengthening workplace safety is known as manager due diligence.

supervisor in workplaceManager due diligence has come into existence over the years as employers are under more scrutiny to create and maintain a safe workplace for their employees.

Meeting the minimum level of manager due diligence is an essential part of every manager’s and supervisor’s job – regardless of how specific this is spelled out in his or her job description. These responsibilities are threefold:

  • Legal responsibility
  • Fiduciary responsibility
  • Ethical responsibility

In the next section we’ll cover these three aspects of manager due diligence.

The Responsibilities of Managers & Supervisors (Legal, Fiduciary & Ethical)

supervisor in workplace talking to staffBoth the Canadian federal government and the Ontario provincial government play a role in creating and enforcing workplace safety legislation.

Failure to comply with their regulations, laws, bylaws, etc. can result in stiff fines and penalties for a company or organization. It can also have individual ramifications for the manager or supervisor who does not meet his or her manager due diligence and fails to protect the health and safety of their team members.

Manager due diligence also falls under the scope of saving money for the company in the big picture – in the form of avoiding fines, penalties, bad press, etc. Thus, a fiduciary responsibility exists for every workplace to plan, implement and practice manager due diligence.

Beyond legal and fiduciary responsibility is the ethical duty of manager due diligence. In many cases the law can be a grey area, or not even spell out specific safety measures. Still, there is an unwritten code of manager due diligence as well, one that the effective manager or supervisor will adhere to in doing everything reasonable within one’s powers to foster a safe work environment for everyone.

Manager Due Diligence in Action

supervisor in workplace talking to staffManager due diligence begins with a safety plan and proactive safety measures.

It is the responsibility of every manager and supervisor to have a thorough understanding of the safety measures and aspects of his or her workplace. Safety planning also entails identifying potential threats to workplace safety.

Manager due diligence continues with:

  • the constant awareness of threats to safety;
  • being able to respond to workplace injuries and incidents;
  • and taking steps to prevent workplace injuries and accidents in the first place

The best way for companies to ensure that their managers and supervisors are fully clear as to their responsibilities is through manager due diligence safety training.

At Advanced Consulting & Training, a leader in workplace safety training in Ontario, we offer workplace safety training programs in manager due diligence – either at your workplace or in one of our safety training classrooms.

We also offer a comprehensive safety consulting program that covers supervisor and manager due diligence. ACT has a successful track record of working with a variety of companies and workplaces to ensure that they are meeting or exceeding their manager due diligence.

Reach out to us today to find out more about how ACT can help your company or organization be the safest workplace possible through manager due diligence.