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Emma O'Connor


On 15 March, we’re running an introductory course focusing on Directors' health and safety duties.  Why is it important for Directors’ to understand their health and safety rules and responsibilities?  Emma O’Connor, Director and Head of Training explains.

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Directors have many duties: financial, fiduciary, legal and regulatory.  Another responsibility and key role is that of health and safety.  Good health and safety practices and messaging comes from the top. Responsibilities are collective as well as individual. It is therefore vital Directors know their role and responsibilities and examine their own practices and behaviours.

A breach of health and safety legislation is a criminal offence.  Breaches can have a major impact on a business and the individuals within it. In the worst case scenario, if a safety breach within a workplace causes a death, then those responsible may also face prosecution for gross negligence manslaughter (in the case of individuals) or corporate manslaughter (where the defendant is a business). Individuals can be imprisoned for breaches of health and safety law, with sentences of up to six months in the Magistrates’ Courts and up to two years in the Crown Courts.  Non-compliance with health and safety laws can be costly.  For example, in June 2016, two company directors were imprisoned for gross negligence manslaughter following the death and serious injury of two employees who had been working at height. One director was imprisoned for six years and the other for eight months. Falls from height are one of the main causes of work-related deaths in Britain. In 2018, a Company was fined £700,000.00 and ordered to pay costs of £99,886.57 and a director jailed for eight months following the death of a 39 year-old man who was crushed in a bailing machine. These are very sad and extreme examples; however, even for minor health and safety infringements, the costs can be great.

As well as criminal offences and fines, health and safety cases can have reputational damage on both individuals and businesses.  Details of any safety convictions have become standard on tender questionnaires. Breaches can also give rise to civil liabilities as well as have insurance implications.

Join us – on 15 March 2022, we are running a virtual training course led by Ian Clements, Managing Director of Quadriga Health and Safety a company which provide health and safety advice, training as well as expert witness services.  It is a 2-hour course and an opportutnity for you or your directors to gain an introduction to Director’s health and safety responsibilities.  The cost is per delegate to attend; however, there are booking discounts available.  You can book and pay online or via invoice. To find out more, click here.

Many high-profile safety cases over the years have been rooted in failures of leadership. Stay ahead and find out ways to reduce risk and bolster your health and safety knowledge.  I look forward to welcoming you on 15 March.

For questions or to run this course in-house, please get in touch.

Consistent with our policy when giving comment and advice on a non-specific basis, we cannot assume legal responsibility for the accuracy of any particular statement. In the case of specific problems we recommend that professional advice be sought.


Get in touch

If you have any questions relating to this article or have any employment issues you would like to discuss, please contact the Employment Team team on [email protected]

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