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UPDATE ON DIRECTOR LEADERSHIP IN HEALTH AND SAFETY

HSE Board rejects further regulation on leadership and director duties

An HSE Board meeting on 7 April 2011 considered the need for new legal duties on directors and the general issue of leadership in health and safety.

The Board considered

  • current actions to promote good boardroom leadership including an evaluation carried out by an independent group of stakeholders whose final report was published in June 2010; and
  • the statement by DWP Minister Chris Grayling that:

“The Government are committed to addressing the heavy toll of deaths in the construction industry which was highlighted in Baroness Donaghy’s report. We will therefore progress those of the Donaghy recommendations accepted by the previous Administration which we consider are supported by the available evidence …

Where, however, we lack firm evidence for particular recommendations – for example, that directors’ health and safety duties need to be further strengthened – we do not propose to take further action at this time.”

Proposed HSE action on leadership

The HSE Board considered a proposal that further regulation in the area of leadership and director duties will therefore not be pursued on the basis of the current evidence. Rather, the key focus of HSE activity in this area will be on:

  • Regulatory inspections – addressing leadership during regulatory inspections and during work with trade associations, trade unions and other stakeholders;
  • Performance benchmarking – continued operation and promotion of CHaSPI, the HSE benchmarking tool, and by providing other help to large organisations in measuring and benchmarking their performance; and
  • Workforce involvement – continued delivery of the worker involvement “do your bit” initiative to improve local management and supervisory level leadership and engagement with the workforce.
Comment

The prospect of new legal duties on directors has now been kicked well into the long grass.

However, it is clear that the role of directors and ‘leadership’ throughout organisations remains central to the HSE strategy across all sectors, including construction.

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