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Definitions (2)

What legislation enforces duty of care requirements?

The Occupational Health & Safety Act, 2000, (Section 8) states:

  • an employer must ensure the health, safety and welfare at work of all the employees of the employer.
  • an employer must ensure that people (other than employees of the employer) are not exposed to risks to their health or safety arising from the conduct of the employer's undertaking while they are at the employer's place of work

Section 9 states:

A self-employed person must ensure that people (other than the employees of the person) are not exposed to risks to their health or safety arising from the conduct of the person's undertaking while they are at the person's place of work.

An employee also has a duty of care (Section 20) to take responsible care for the health and safety of people who are at the place of work and may be affected by the employee's acts or omissions

An employee must also cooperate with his or her employer or other person to enable compliance with the Act and regulation.

This legislation is the basis of the duty of care requirements.

This and other provisions of the Act require employers to ensure that:

  • systems of work are safe;
  • equipment is safe and properly maintained;
  • employees receive health and safety information and training;
  • employees are properly supervised.

Implementing the duty of care principle requires all people in the workplace to pay constant attention to, and be aware of, the possible consequences of their actions. These people include employers, employees, manufacturers, suppliers and other persons at a place of work.

Codes of Practice may be available in relation to health and safety issues in your workplace. They are practical documents that assist in implementing safe workplace procedures. They may also be used by a court as evidence of an employer's failure to implement the duty of care responsibility.

You can also find some of the relevant Codes of Practice on our download page.