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Directors` responsibilities for health & safety


QualityZoneThe Government, through its Health and Safety Commission and Executive (HSC/HSE), is developing a code of practice on Directors' Responsibilities for health and safety.

The code is for people who provide strategic leadership, direction and oversight and set the policy on health and safety. In incorporated bodies, this will be the board of directors. In public sector organisations, this will be the senior management board.

The code contains five action points:

  • The board needs to accept formally and publicly their collective role in providing health and safety leadership in their organisation;

  • Each member of the board needs to accept their individual role in providing health and safety leadership for their organisation;

  • The board needs to ensure that all their board decisions reflect their health and safety intentions, as articulated in the health and safety policy statement;

  • The board needs to recognise their role in engaging the active participation of their staff in improving health and safety;

  • The board need to ensure that it is kept informed of, and alert to, relevant health and safety risk management issues. The Health and Safety Commission recommends that boards appoint one of their number to be the "health and safety director".

These are interesting changes. 'The Times'(7/1/01) ran a story headlined "Fall guys will face jail over accidents". It highlights the link between this code and the Governments proposals to toughen up its attitude to Corporate Manslaughter. Click here for details.

We think boards of directors need to be professionally advised on these matters. We have a half-day programme, accredited by the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health ('IOSH'), called "Directing Safely", which we commend to you.

If this would be helpful, or we can advise on other risk management matters, please contact us at [email protected]


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