directors, section 37 of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, Company Directors Disqualification Act 1986, section 2(1), Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007

Is there support for Leaders in Health & Safety?  Yes

12 December 2019

One of the main statutory responsibilities falling on directors is the understating of the Health and Safety Policy 

Is there support for Leaders in Health & Safety?  Yes. 

As company directors we take on great responsibility: 

  • Determining the company’s strategic objectives and policies
  • Monitoring progress towards achieving the objectives and policies
  • Appointing senior management
  • Accounting for the company’s activities to relevant parties, eg shareholders
  • Leading and keeping the people safe and

a number of statutory duties, no one gives us, as individuals, coaching, training and information for. 

As a company director we can be held personally liable for losses incurred by a business which are proven to be the result of board decisions, or a failure act properly.  That we cannot be insured for, a unnerving thought. 

Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974

Health and safety law places duties on organisations and employers, and as directors we can be personally liable when these duties are breached. 

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.

If found guilty we will be liable for fines and, in some cases, imprisonment, am sure like me the sis not part of your life plan! 

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.

Individual we 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.

As members of the board we have both collective and individual responsibility for health and safety and we need to have formal procedures for auditing and reporting health and safety performance along with a competent person.   We can’t presume another is looking after this or we have delegated to managers. 

We have to understand our duties. 

What are my Statutory duties?

We as Directors need to be aware that we are personally subject to statutory duties in our capacity as directors of a company.  

The Companies Act 2006, sets out our general duties of directors, in addition we are subject to a wide range of regulation and legislation including the Insolvency Act 1986, the Company Directors’ Disqualification Act 1986, the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007.

Our duties are interpreted in accordance with the previous case law, which to this day remains relevant.

In addition, the company as a separate legal entity is also subject to statutory controls and we are responsible for ensuring that the company and the people complies with legal statutory controls.

We may be liable to penalties if the company fails to carry out its statutory duties.

Is there training, support and coaching? 

Yes.  LCS.   We deliver Leadership coaching and training, in Leading Health and Safety, Corporate Manslaughter and non executive board level support. 

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