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What does ‘Duty of Care’ mean?

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The duty of care is the duty to take all reasonable care to prevent harm to others (that is those to whom the duty is owed). The duty of care may also be phrased in a negative sense – it is a duty not to place others at unreasonable risk of harm. The duty of care is not absolute. The law does not require perfection (although in the cases of injured children the standard is very high and close to perfection). The question that should be asked in determining whether the duty has been or will be discharged is: “What would a reasonable person do/have done in all the circumstances?” An organization must look at the foreseeable risks and the likelihood of harm in what they are planning to do and what is the usual practice to address these risks in the circumstances. An organization cannot delegate its duty of care. It must also consider situations in which its workers might act carelessly. That is, to take into account the possibility that workers might not fully understand or follow safe ... more
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