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Diligent employers avoid liability for workplace injuries

No business owner in British Columbia wishes to be held responsible for harm to employees. While accidents are known to happen when least expected, employers are required to take reasonable steps to prevent workplace injuries. Employers who properly comply with due diligence requirements will not be accused of exposing their workers to known hazards.

Diligent employers must familiarize themselves with their legal obligations as required by the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation and the Workers' Compensation Act. Generally speaking, an employer must identify workplace hazards and set in place measures to prevent injuries, and ensure all workers are fully informed of all potential dangers they might face. Safety protocols must include risk analysis by knowledgeable individuals, and reviews of previous incidents and near misses, worker input, investigations and audit findings.

This must be followed by proactive policies in safety programs that cover procedures and practices with a minimum risk of injuries. Communication, supervision and enforcement of protocols are essential, as are frequent revisions and health and safety assessments. Any necessary adjustments must be made and put into practice. It is also good practice to record and document all the details to give evidence of compliance with the required standards and be able to demonstrate continued vigilance.

While British Columbia business owners might recognize their due diligence with respect to occupational health and safety as a daunting responsibility, help is available. An experienced lawyer who frequently deals with issues that involve the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation and the Workers' Compensation Act can provide the necessary support and guidance in establishing safety protocols and ensuring due diligence is taken. A lawyer can also handle any legal action that a business owner might face in the aftermath of workplace injuries.

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