“An organisation will never be able to achieve the highest standards of health and safety management without the active involvement of directors. External stakeholders viewing the organisation will observe the lack of direction.”
“Health and safety is integral to success. Board members who do not show leadership in this area are failing in their duty as directors and their moral duty, and are damaging their organisation.” Ref: Institute of Directors / Health and Safety Executive UK – Health and Safety Guidelines for Company Directors.
Legislation in both Australia and New Zealand clearly places duties on those who control organisations to ensure required standards of compliance are achieved. NZ’s Health and Safety in Employment Act requires those with duties under the Act to take “all practicable steps” to ensure those duties are fulfilled. In respect of Directors their liability at present is directly linked to the extent to which it could be established that they knew of, or acquiesced in, the failure to take all practicable steps to manage health and safety risks, or conversely failed to exercise due diligence to ensure that those health and safety risks were being effectively identified and managed.