Directors’ duties for health and safety
Produced in partnership with Nicholas Ostrowski of Six Pump Court
Directors’ duties for health and safety

The following Corporate Crime practice note produced in partnership with Nicholas Ostrowski of Six Pump Court provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Directors’ duties for health and safety
  • General duties under the Companies Act 2006
  • Guidance on directors’ duties
  • Other guidance
  • Directors’ duties for health and safety—a summary
  • Demonstrating the board’s attitude to compliance with health and safety law
  • Directors’ liabilities under s 37 of HSWA 1974
  • The extent of liability under s 37(1)
  • Proving consent, connivance or neglect
  • Compelled statements from directors
  • More...

General duties under the Companies Act 2006

Section 172(1) of the Companies Act 2006 (CA 2006) creates a general duty on a director to:

‘… act in the way he considers, in good faith, would be most likely to promote the success of the company for the benefit of its members as a whole, and in doing so have regard (amongst other matters) to

(a) the likely consequences of any decision in the long term,

(b) the interests of the company's employees,

(c) the need to foster the company's business relationships with suppliers, customers and others,

(d) the impact of the company's operations on the community and the environment,

(e) the desirability of the company maintaining a reputation for high standards of business conduct, and

(f) the need to act fairly as between members of the company.’

As can be seen, there is no specific obligation on directors to consider health and safety in the running of the company. However, it is difficult to conceive of a director not having to consider health and safety issues when considering, in good faith, what is most likely to promote the success of the company particularly in respect of considering the interests of the company’s employees who may be most at risk if health and safety is ignored.

Guidance on directors’ duties

While there is no specific statutory obligation under the CA 2006 for directors to consider health

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