Every company will state that occupational health and safety is important, and every MD or CEO will make statements of how they are committed to achieving excellent health and safety standards.

However, it is one thing to stand up in front of staff every month and claim that you are committed to health and safety, it is quite another to be able to back those words up with action and to be able to evidence that that commitment is real.

How do senior management and the Board demonstrate their commitment to health and safety? The guidance document issued jointly by the Institute of Directors and the HSE raise the following questions for Boards to consider and which will be important in any serious accident investigation.

  • How do you demonstrate the board’s commitment to health and safety?
  • What do you do to ensure appropriate board-level review of health and safety?
  • What have you done to ensure your organisation, at all levels including the board receives competent health and safety advice?
  • How are you ensuring all staff, including the board, are sufficiently trained and competent in their health and safety responsibilities?
  • How confident are you that your workforce, particularly your safety representatives, are consulted properly on health and safety matters, and that their concerns are reaching the appropriate level including, as necessary, the board?
  • What systems are in place to ensure your organisation’s risks are assessed, and that sensible control measures are established and maintained?
  • How well do you know what is happening on the ground, and what audits or assessments are undertaken to inform you about what your organisation and contractors actually do?
  • What information does the board receive regularly about health and safety, e.g. performance data and reports on injuries and work-related ill-health?
  • What targets have you set to improve health and safety and do you benchmark your performance against others in your sector or beyond?
  • Where changes in working arrangements have significant implications for health and safety, how are these brought to the attention of the board?

These are very important questions for all Boards to consider and how will you evidence that such issues are being addressed particularly with the impact of the Corporate Manslaughter Act?

Cardinus can assist with putting practical measures in place to enable Boards to effectively address these issues, helping to protect staff, board members and the company itself. Contact Cardinus on 0207 469 0200 or email info@cardinus.com.

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