Originally posted on August 25, 2022 @ 7:19 PM
One of the grand delusions of approaches to Due Diligence is that it is a quantitative concept. Due Diligence is similar to ALARP and is a 100% qualitative idea that cannot be measured.
Our successful Due Diligence program will be run in Perth 3,4,5 October 2022.
Place are still available for registrations.
Due diligence is essentially a moral activity (https://safetyrisk.net/safety-and-risk-due-diligence-as-a-moral-activity/) that provides a framework for helping, care and support of people as they seek to tackle risk.
Due Diligence is NOT a policing activity, measuring activity or about mechanical compliance.
Nothing as set out in the WHS Act about Due Diligence can be measured.
If you want to know about Due Diligence you can watch Greg Smith in action here:
4. DUE DILIGENCE from Human Dymensions on Vimeo.
Or watch my discussion here:
Due Diligence from Human Dymensions on Vimeo.
The real give away about Due Diligence is the language in the WHS Act (http://classic.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/nsw/consol_act/whasa2011218/s27.html). Just like ALARP (https://vimeo.com/162637292) Due Diligence is about ‘taking reasonable steps’ to:
- Keep up to date
- Understand operations
- Ensure ‘appropriate’ resources
- Ensure ‘appropriate’ processes
- Commit to obligations under the Act and,
- Verifies resources and processes
All of the language used in the WHS Act regarding Due Diligence is qualitative.
The real energy of Due Diligence is based in mutuality and reciprocation.
Whenever the word ‘duty’ is used (as it is in the AIHS BoK Chapter on Ethics) it invokes a moral dimension towards others. This too is not quantitative but qualitative. One can chose to frame this morality as deontological or there are many other approaches to moral duty that better capture the complexity of moral orientation towards others. A deontological ethic, as proposed by the AIHS BoK Chapter, makes duty a ‘fundamentalist morality’ as if what is good is mystically known by everyone, something akin to ‘common sense’. Hence why the AIHS BoK Chapter pivots on such an obscure notion as ’check your gut’ (https://safetyrisk.net/the-aihs-bok-and-ethics-check-your-gut/).
There is no such thing as ‘common sense’, natural law or objective ethics. There is no absolute in ‘do the right thing’ and ‘check your gut’. Such language is misleading and delusional.
All moral behaviour is situated and contextualised. There is no metaphysical objectivity that directs moral orientation despite what Kant proposed 200 years ago.
So, when it comes to Due Diligence rather than seeking a moral absolute, the law really proposes a problem-solving approach to tackling risk. https://safetyrisk.net/safety-and-risk-due-diligence-as-a-moral-activity/
This is why the WHS Act uses language such as ‘appropriate’, ‘reasonable’ and ‘minimize’.
There is no demand for zero in any legislation associated with safety.
There is no checklist or paperwork process that can ensure Due Diligence.
Due Diligence is anchored to one’s worldview and orientation to others (https://safetyrisk.net/the-safety-worldview-and-the-worldview-of-safety-testing-due-diligence/) and as such, a behaviourist lens or engineering lens will never satisfy.
Due Diligence is about how one is oriented towards risk and those who tackle risk under one’s ‘care’. This is the moral essence of duty under the Act. This is why the omission in the AIHS BoK Chapter on Ethics of any mention of care, helping or personhood is so telling.
I you want to learn more about what Due Diligence is really about, you can register for the Perth workshop or start watching the free video series Risky Conversations (https://vimeo.com/showcase/3938199).
I always feel that, especially in safety, the word “due” is ignored. To my mind, due means something like “what is needed”, “what is expected”, “what is required”. To me it sounds like “did you do enough?”. And the word “enough” implies a moving target – what is good enough today may be too little (or too much) tomorrow. That said, my mind would then go to ask “what is appropriate for the situation?”. If I go to the shop and buy something that looks as if it will do the job, I did my “due” diligence – I do not need to make a 5 hour study to determine if the $5 frying pan is good enough, or do I need to buy the $6 one? However, when I buy a car, a few hours of comparisons and test drives will form part of my personal “due” diligence.
Rob Long says
Good observations Wynand. Also ‘due’ is a metaphor for time, payment and readiness.
It gives us the idea of nowness, don’t delay and something owed/expected.
When something is due we await its delivery.
What is delivered needs to be sufficient to the expectation, which is care for workers.
A great expectation for an industry that rarely talks about care and never discusses care ethics.