Is Internal Responsibility System same as Due Diligence

Internal Responsibility System (IRS) is not the same thing as due diligence.

This is a very common misunderstanding among people. That said, it is important to note that Internal Responsibility System and due diligence are interconnected concepts. IRS tends to tell us more about who is responsible for occupational health and safety within an organization. However, due diligence is more about what someone should do at his or her workplace to discharge the responsibilities defined by an organization’s IRS. In simple words, IRS tells you who’s responsible and due diligence suggests how far should someone go with his or her responsibility.

IRS is a philosophy that means every worker in a company, at any position, does occupational health and safety as a part of his or her job. Thus, as per IRS, every individual working for a company is responsible for workplace health and safety. On the other hand, due diligence would refer to everything reasonable that a worker would have to do in the given circumstances to comply with his or her duties.

It is very crucial to note that due diligence goes beyond the regulatory compliance requirements of the Occupational Health and Safety Act. In fact, regulatory compliance is just the first step of due diligence. This is where the ‘General Duty’ clause of Section 27 comes into play. This duty requires supervisors to take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances for the protection of the worker. This includes telling them about hazards that the regulations may not have covered, which the supervisor is reasonably aware of.

Internal Responsibility System lays the foundation for occupational health and safety in any organization. Therefore, stronger the IRS, more effective the health and safety system. Due diligence is more about how reasonably did the workers act in the given circumstances to mitigate risks to the lowest possible extent. IRS and due diligence work hand-in-glove in terms of helping a company identify the workplace hazards effectively through performing timely hazard assessments.

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