Company directors have enough health and safety restrictions, says EEF

Company directors do not need more health and safety legal restrictions placed on them, according to manufacturers’ body the EEF.

An EEF survey of 467 health and safety managers found an increasing number of directors are playing an active role in managing employee risk. More than 80% of companies are now actively involved in managing health and safety, and over 75% are discussing health and safety at board level, the report found.

The news comes after amendments to the Health and Safety Act last month made it possible for the first time to jail company directors found guilty of breaching health and safety laws.

Organisations could also be charged £20,000 instead of £5,000 for some serious health and safety offences.

Steve Pointer, head of health and safety policy at EEF, said the survey shows there was no need for extra employment law restrictions placed on company directors, as the current approach was working.

“This survey endorses EEF’s view that the best way to promote health and safety best practice is to promote good leadership, rather than introducing new statutory duties that would lead to a ‘box ticking’ mentality,” he said.

The EEF study also showed a 40% rise in the past three years in the number of company boards that monitor health and safety management as part of their key performance indicators.

However, the Health and Safety Executive told Personnel Today it could not rule out introducing more legal restrictions regarding health and safety on company directors.

An HSE spokesperson said: “The report findings will make a contribution to an ongoing debate and of course our current strategy review. Leadership of health and safety issues from the top is vital and we are pleased that this report recognises the positive business benefits of health and safety.”

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