Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is ISO 31000 recognized by law?

 ISO 31000 is the international consensus risk management standard and it has been adopted by dozens of countries as their national standard. Some countries, such as Australia, New Zealand, Canada and many European nations, have legislated  various risk management requirements into law while recognizing ISO 31000 as their country’s standard.

2. What is ISO 31000?

ISO 31000 is intended to be a family of standards relating to risk management codified by the International Organization for Standardization. The purpose of ISO 31000:2009 is to provide principles and generic guidelines on risk management. ISO 31000 seeks to provide a universally recognized paradigm for risk management practitioners and companies employing risk management processes to harmonize the myriad of existing standards, methodologies and paradigms across industries, subject matters and regions.

3. What is "risk"?

Historically, "risk" has been associated with taking chances to make gains.  It has also been associated with potential failure and losses.  However, "risk" is defined as "the effect of uncertainty on objectives", whether these effects are positive or negative.  In simple terms, risk management according to ISO 31000 is a discipline for making better decisions taking into account the uncertainties inherent in life in order to better achieve our objectives.

4. What is TRIF?

TRIF refers to Total Recordable Incident Frequence.  It is a standardized base rate, in which any company can calculate their rate(s) and get a percentage per 100 employees.  It is calculated by multiplying the number of recordable cases by 200,000, and then dividing that number by the number of labour hours at the company.

5. What is workplace violence and harassment?

Most people think of violence as a physical assault. However, workplace violence is a much broader problem. It is any act in which a person is abused, threatened, intimidated or assaulted in his or her employment. Workplace violence includes:

  1. Threatening behaviour - such as shaking fists, destroying property or throwing objects.
  2. Verbal or written threats - any expression of an intent to inflict harm.
  3. Harassment - any behaviour that demeans, embarrasses, humiliates, annoys, alarms or verbally abuses a person and that is known or would be expected to be unwelcome.  This includes words, gestures, intimidation, bullying, or other inappropriate activities.
  4. Verbal abuse - swearing, insults or condenscending language.
  5. Physical attacks - hitting, shoving, pushing or kicking.

Workplace violence is not limited to incidents that occur within a traditional workplace.  Work-related violence can occur at off-site business related functions, at social events related to work, in clients' homes or away from work but resulting from work.

6. What is a policy statement?

An organization's occupational health and safety policy is a statement of principles and general rules that serve as guides for action. Senior management must be committed to ensuring that the policy is carried out with no exceptions. The health and safety policy should have the same importance as the other policies of the organization.

The policy statement can be brief, but it should mention:

  1. Management's commitment to protect the safety and health of employees.
  2. The objectives of the program.
  3. The organization's basic health and safety philosophy.
  4. Who is accountable for occupational health and safety programs.
  5. The general responsibilities of all employees.
  6. That health and safety shall not be sacrificed for expediency.
  7. That unacceptable performance of health and safety duties will not be tolerated.

The policy should be stated in clear, unambiguous, and unequivocal terms.  It must be signed by the incumbent Chief Executive Officer and kept up-to-date.  It must be communicated to each employee and adhered to in all work activities.


7. What is a training matrix?

A training matrix is a tool that can be used to track training and skill levels within an organization.  A training matrix has a variety of uses from supporting gas analysis between required and actual knowledge levels and also tracking competency levels.

8. Why is due diligence important?

"Due diligence" is important as a legal defense for a person charged under occupational health and safety legislation. If charged, a defendant may be found not guilty if he or she can prove that due diligence was exercised. In other words, the defendant must be able to prove that all precautions, reasonable under the circumstances, were taken to protect the health and safety of workers.

Due diligence is demonstrated by your actions before an event occurs, not after.

9. What is "due diligence"?

Due diligence is the level of judgement, care, prudence, determination, and activity that a person would reasonably be expected to do under particular circumstances.

Applied to occupational health and safety, due diligence means that employers shall take all reasonable precautions, under the particular circumstances, to prevent injuries or accidents in the workplace. This duty also applies to situations that are not addressed elsewhere in the occupational health and safety legislation. Reasonable precautions are also referred to as reasonable care. It refers to the care, caution, or action a reasonable person is expected to take under similar circumstances.

Another term used is employers must do what is "reasonably practicable".  Reasonably practicable has been described by the Labour Program (Canada) as taking precautions that are not only possible, but that are also suitable or rational, given the particular situation.  Determining what should be done is usually done on a case by case basis. 

To exercise due diligence, an employer must implement a plan to identify possible workplace hazards and carry out the appropriate corrective action to prevent accidents or injuries arising from these hazards.

10. What is negligence?

Negligence is a failure to exercise the care that a reasonably prudent person would exercise in like circumstances.  The area of tort law known as negligence involves harm caused by carelessness, not necessarily intentional harm.  The core idea of negligence is that people should exercise reasonable care when they act by taking account of the potential harm that they might foreseeably cause to other people.