Duty of Care


“Duty of care” is an element of the tort of negligence. In broad terms, the law of negligence provides that if a person suffers injury as the result of the negligence of another, they should be compensated for the loss and damage which arises from the negligent act or omission.
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A primary duty of care exists when you:

direct or influence work carried out by a worker

engage (or cause to engage) a worker to carry out work (including through subcontracting)

have management or control of a workplace


—There are 3 parts to the definition of negligence

—All 3 must be present in any situation for the health professional to be considered negligent.

—These 3 parts are:

—Duty of Care

—Breach of duty of care


You must meet your obligations under the work health and safety laws by ensuring:

safe systems of work

  • maintain the premises used for accommodation for workers, if required
  • safe use of plant, structures and substances
  • adequate facilities for the welfare of workers
  • notification and recording of workplace incidents
  • adequate information, training, instruction and supervision
  • compliance with requirements under the Work Health and Safety Regulation
  • effective systems for monitoring the health of workers and workplace conditions
  • a safe work environment


The principle of duty of care is that you have an obligation to avoid acts or omissions, which could be reasonably foreseen to injure of harm other people. This means that you must anticipate risks for your clients and take care to prevent them coming to harm. Remember that harm encompasses both physical and emotional harm.