Health and Safety Responsibilities of Executives & Directors
1 October 2018
Health and safety at work responsibility and accountability falls upon directors, board members and the business owners for any organisation no matter what the size.
Legal responsibilities of employers makes directors and senior executives accountable
Failure to include health and safety as a key business risk in board decisions can have catastrophic results. Many high-profile safety cases over the years have been rooted in failures of leadership. Health and safety law places duties on organisations and employers, and directors can be personally liable when these duties are breached: members of the board have both collective and individual responsibility for health and safety.
Protecting the health and safety of employees or members of the public who may be affected by your activities is an essential part of risk management and must be led by the board.
Health and safety law states that employers must:
- assess risks to employees, customers, partners and any other people who could be affected by their activities;
- arrange for the effective planning, organisation, control, monitoring and review of preventative and protective measures;
- have a written health and safety policy if they have five or more employees;
- ensure they have access to competent health and safety advice;
- consult employees about their risks at work and current preventive and protective measures in place.
Failure to comply with these requirements can have serious consequences – for both organisations and individuals. Sanctions include fines, imprisonment and disqualification.
IOSH Safety for Executives & Directors
Provides the knowledge to demonstrate good safety leadership. The course enables Board Members, Directors and Senior Management to understand current health and safety legislation and the accountability for the organisation and individuals.
Delegates will understand how health and safety is an essential part of organisational strategy, decision-making processes and supply chain management.
This course will help you make sense of the law in relation to Health and Safety and your obligations, assessing risks and an effective management system to ensure, so far as reasonably practicable, the health and safety of employees, customers and members of the public is protected.
Or you could go the DIY route and read up on....
Health and Safety at Work etc, Act 1974
Health and safety law places duties on organisations and employers, and directors can be personally liable when these duties are breached; members of the board have both collective and individual responsibility for health and safety. Larger public and private sector organisations need to have formal procedures for auditing and reporting health and safety performance.
If a health and safety offence is committed with the consent or connivance of, or is attributable to any neglect on the part of, any director, manager, secretary or other similar officer of the organisation, then that person (as well as the organisation) can be prosecuted under section 37 of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.
Those found guilty are liable for fines and, in some cases, imprisonment. In addition, the Company Directors Disqualification Act 1986, section 2(1), empowers the court to disqualify an individual convicted of an offence in connection with the management of a company. This includes health and safety offences. This power is exercised at the discretion of the court; it requires no additional investigation or evidence.
Individual directors are also potentially liable for other related offences, such as the common law offence of gross negligence manslaughter. Under the common law, gross negligence manslaughter is proved when individual officers of a company (directors or business owners) by their own grossly negligent behaviour cause death. This offence is punishable by a maximum of life imprisonment.
Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007
Under this Act, an offence will be committed where failings by an organisation's senior management are a substantial element in any gross breach of the duty of care owed to the organisation's employees or members of the public, which results in death. The maximum penalty is an unlimited fine and the court can additionally make a publicity order requiring the organisation to publish details of its conviction and fine.
When the stakes are this high, don’t you want to be certain you know what needs to be in place instead of relying on others?