Duty of Care Revisited

Technologists and technicians have multiple levels of responsibility when undertaking their work.

  • Firstly, they are bound by contractual obligations which lay out what is expected in terms of deliverables, schedule and payment for each project.
  • They must also be aware of their responsibilities under the law of tort.
  • And as professionals they have a third responsibility, a fiduciary duty that places them in a position of trust in terms of their relationship with the public. The fiduciary – or 'trusted person' – must not allow any conflict of interest to taint their duties towards the public – the 'beneficiary' – and must exercise a high standard of care in protecting or promoting the interests of the beneficiary.

The specialist skills of technologists and technicians are needed by the public and great reliance is placed on them as professionals to ensure the safety and well-being of society. The professional must always be aware of possible conflicts of interest and must be prepared to put the needs of the public and their clients above their own. This requirement applies whether the person seeking expertise, leadership or guidance is an absolute novice or a fellow professional.

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