Being a Director can sometimes be a thankless task, can’t it? The whole success of the business rests on your shoulders and everyone expects you to know what to do in every situation. It is, after all, why you supposedly earn the big bucks – right?!
Often, the truth could not be further from the above. We know plenty of Directors who start businesses because they’re good at what they do and they have fantastic business ideas. They don’t tend to do this kind of thing because they’re experts at what the law requires, or because they want to spend their evenings digesting the delights of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations and the mountains of British Standards that exist. Unfortunately the law doesn’t see things this way – it simply expects that as a Director you’ll know exactly what is required of you and everything to do with your business. This is particularly the case with Health and Safety legislation and enforcement by the HSE: in the eyes of the law, whether you think it should or not, the buck stops with you.
There are also consequences. Under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, Directors can be prosecuted for failures of management, or negligence, with outcomes of unlimited fines, removal from post, or up to two years in jail. All because you want to do your best and make a successful business that can provide a service and, hopefully, make some money! Latest figures available show that in 2016, the number of senior management who were successfully prosecuted trebled from the previous year, whilst the number of individuals in other roles who were prosecuted dropped to just one person! This confirms our view that the HSE are increasingly looking to prosecute senior management within a business, rather than focusing on the employees who are frequently more culpable.
So the big question is, do you know what your company should be doing? Do you understand what your statutory duties are? Do you know that the best companies have management teams that drive good health and safety cultures? If the answer to any of these is “no” and you want to find out more, there’s some good news! ProAktive have recently been accredited to provide the IOSH Leading Safely course, alongside the existing Managing and Working Safely courses. Of course we know that your time is precious and so this course lasts five hours and aims to give you the tools that you need to drive good health and safety performance within your business. Contact us on 01302 341 344 if you want to find out more.
By Ian Clayton CMIOSH – Health & Safety Manager