When you hear the term “duty of care,” you may associate it with personal injury lawsuits or the financial industry. However, it’s an idea about caring for others that every corporate organization should understand and employ.
In the following blog post, we’ll outline what duty of care means, how it may apply to your work environment, and why it’s so important to uphold your duty of care by supporting and safeguarding your team.
What is duty of care?
What is duty of care? Sometimes the answer depends on the context and situation. The phrase is often used in law, personal injury claims in particular.
The American Law Institute’s Principles of Corporate Governance defines duty of care as “the duty by which a corporate director or officer is required to perform their functions in good faith; in a manner that they reasonably believe to be in the best interests of the corporation; and with the care that an ordinarily prudent person would reasonably be expected to exercise in a like position and under similar circumstances.”
In simpler terms, duty of care is a leader’s responsibility to consider all variables and make the most-informed decision to protect the company’s interests.
Duty of care in the workplace
What does duty of care mean in a corporate environment, or even a government, K-12, higher education, or healthcare employment setting? Think of it as an agreement between employer and employee. An employer’s duty of care to their team requires that they create a safe work environment by mitigating risks to physical, mental, and emotional health. In turn, an employee’s duty of care to their boss requires that they avoid taking unnecessary risks and that they care for themselves, too.
Keeping employees safe will look different for every workplace. In a factory setting, that may mean keeping machines in good condition and providing frequent safety training to employees. In a high-risk job like firefighting, it may mean providing the best protective equipment possible.
Consider the risks employees in every department of your organization face. Now, what is your company’s response to that risk? What are its preventative measures? Evaluate your duty of care responsibilities by first answering these questions.
How to uphold your duty of care
How can you uphold your duty of care to your employees? This will look different for every company; however, every organization can benefit from certain strategies and procedures. Every company can create a safer workplace by implementing the following tips.
Have a reliable system for communication
Emergencies can happen at any place and any time, no matter what work environment you’re in. Weather disasters, threats to safety, and a completely unexpected event like the COVID-19 pandemic can change everything in an instant. You need an immediate and reliable way to connect with your entire team.
That’s where a mass notification system can come in handy. A mass notification system that makes use of channels other than text, voice calls, or emails ensures everyone gets the message at the most critical times. It’s essential in keeping your employees safe from harm.
Protect your entire team
Non-emergency situations can benefit from a company-wide communication tool, too. For example, if you have employees who travel frequently or work remotely, your duty of care extends to them as well.
Whether an employee drives just a few miles from headquarters, works from home, or travels internationally frequently, your duty of care requires that you safeguard them as you would if they were in office.
How can you protect remote or traveling workers? A location-based messaging system makes checking in easy on your end. You might also consider a personal safety app that offers additional security tools, such as a virtual escort and reliable emergency services.
Be proactive with safety
Sometimes safeguarding your employees means thinking about and preparing for the worst. Do your employees know what to do in the event of a fire or a medical emergency? Have they practiced evacuating the facilities during safety drills? Do they know who to contact if they have a safety concern?
It’s your responsibility to share resources like safety policies and emergency resources with your team. You must also consider running routine safety drills or training sessions to equip your employees with the knowledge needed to make decisions during critical situations.
What happens when duty of care is ignored
Duty of care is your legal responsibility to your employees. Every worker you employ deserves to work in an environment that’s safe.
A safe work environment means it’s free of physical hazards like faulty wiring or poorly maintained flooring, yes, but it’s also a safe place for mental and emotional wellbeing. That means protecting employees against workplace violence or the threat of violence — which affects about 2 million American employees each year.
Legal implications of ignoring your duty of care aside, taking care of your employees is not just good for them. It’s also good for your company. Better employee wellbeing leads to several benefits like higher productivity and engagement, reduced turnover, lower costs, and many more.
Care for your employees with the right tools and systems
Duty of care should not be ignored, whether you’re a corporation, educational institution, healthcare facility, or municipality. Fulfilling your duty of care responsibilities as an employer means using the best communication, safety, and wellness tools to keep your team members informed.
That’s what the Rave critical communication and collaboration platform offers for corporations. Features and tools in Rave’s suite include:
- Rave Alert, the leading FedRAMP-authorized mass notification system, which allows users to send one message across multiple channels in just three clicks.
- Rave Guardian, a personal safety app that lets users check on traveling and remote employees
- Rave Panic Button, an emergency communication tool that improves emergency communication and response
- Rave Collaborate, a user-friendly dashboard that lets users access and share compliance resources, safety policies, and more
Uphold your duty of care to your employees by creating a safe, reliable, and informative corporate work environment, whether they’re in-office or on the go. Rave’s platform can help you do that by improving your communication tools and resources for both emergency and non-emergency situations.
To learn more about Rave’s prepackaged solutions, or to speak to someone about configuring a solutions package that works best for your corporation, schedule a demo today.