Protecting the health and safety of workers is a legal responsibility of Company Directors and Officers. This has been clearly emphasised in the findings of the Pike River Coal Mine Disaster Royal Commission.
These findings highlight the importance that Directors must place on Company policy. As a Director or Officer you must:
- Ensure the Company has a comprehensive Health and Safety Management Plan.
- Ensure that Plan is fit for the purpose and reviewed regularly.
- Provide adequate resources and time for the Plan to be implemented.
- Obtain independent evidence on the effectiveness of the plan.
Company Boards need to be clear about their Statutory and Governance responsibilities and how good Governance practices can be used to manage Health and Safety risks. Regular, rigorous reviews and monitoring Health and Safety Compliance are essential.
Protecting the health and safety of workers is not a peripheral business activity. It is part and parcel of an organisation’s functions and should be embedded in an organisation’s strategies, policies and operations. That also means that, as a Director, you are responsible for ensuring there are adequate resources and that the Company has the appropriate people, systems and equipment to meet the requirements. You must provide the necessary leadership for this to happen.