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Health and safety responsibilities of Board Members and Business Owners

If you own a business or you are listed as a board member, your health and safety responsibilities involve protecting the health and safety of employees or members of the public who may be affected by your activities.

This is an essential part of risk management and whether you are a director of a large organisation or small business, your obligations to health and safety are binding. 

Health and safety in organisational strategy, decision-making processes and supply chain management

Failure to include health and safety as a key business risk in board decisions can have catastrophic results. Many high-profile safety cases over the years have been rooted in failures of leadership.

Health and safety law duties of organisations, employers and directors

Health and safety law places duties on organisations and employers, and directors 
can be personally liable when these duties are breached: members of the board have both collective and individual responsibility for health and safety. 
By following this guidance, you will help your organisation find the best ways to lead and promote health and safety, and therefore meet its legal obligations. 
The starting points are the following essential principles. These principles are intended to underpin the actions in this guidance and so lead to good health and safety performance. 

The essential principles of Health and safety

  • Strong and active leadership from the top
    • visible, active commitment from the board
    • establishing effective ‘downward’ communication systems and management structures
    • integration of good health and safety management with business decisions
  • Worker involvement
    • engaging the workforce in the promotion and achievement of safe and healthy conditions
    • effective ‘upward’ communication
    • providing high-quality training
  • Assessment and review
  • identifying and managing health and safety risks
  • accessing (and following) competent advice
  • monitoring, reporting and reviewing performance


Do you understand the Health & Safety responsibilities on you?


Responsibilities of board members and business owners

Responsibilities of a Managing Director

Responsibilities if you’re a Director specifically responsible for Health and Safety

Responsibilities of Managers and Heads of Department

Responsibilities of a Safety Manager

Mike is Managing Director of RISK who provide Health & Safety consultations and are recognised as one of the UK’s leading health and safety training providers. Delivering CITB, NEBOSH and IOSH courses at their venues in Nottingham, Liverpool and London and in-company.