Duty of Care - Testing your Culture

“The legal obligation to safeguard others from harm while they are in your care, using your services, or exposed to your activities”.

Collins English Dictionary

Now more than ever are employers and employees conscious of their ‘duty of care’ towards their fellow human beings, especially during a global pandemic where the threat is invisible but the consequences can be fatal. COVID-19 has brought sharp focus to how we work and socialise safely, but also how we use personal protective equipment in assisting those who need our help the most.

As we transition to a new normal, it would be wise to continue this practice of how we ensure duty of care towards our staff, volunteers and those who benefit from our service. But, how do we know that the policies and procedures that we have written are applied in working practices where the culture of the organisation embraces and champions this safe way of working. 

 

Many of us have experienced organisational culture that devours strategy and policies, because of a mindset of ‘we’ve always done it this way’ and ‘it won’t happen to me’, but as we know in many circumstances such a mindset invariably leads to an incident where people are injured. Consequently, the organisation is investigated and found to be wanting in its application of policies & procedures at the ground level, usually thwarted by ‘bad culture’. There are many case studies in our history that evidence this.

 

The pandemic has brought about swift change and a more compassionate attitude, where we are more mindful of ourselves and others and as we emerge from this period it is important not to lose this change that is kinder to our fellow humans. As we transition back to work, to international travel, to large scale events, how do we ensure that we are compliant with our duty of care obligations?

 

Conducting immersive exercises that test your policies and procedures, but also shine a light onto organisational culture and leadership are an excellent way of testing your organisational processes, but also a subtle way of gauging the culture of staff towards ‘what works’ and how a collective approach to duty of care can not only enhance morale, but also productivity and leadership within the organisation.

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