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Directors' Duties Are Overdue Says TUC

The TUC says the case for legally-binding safety duties on company directors is watertight, adding they would be 'the biggest driver yet in changing boardroom attitudes towards health and safety.' The union body says the current law 'means that if a board of directors refuses to have any involvement in health and safety, however bad the record of the company, there is almost nothing that can be done to force them to take responsibility beyond disqualification (which is almost never done).'

A new online briefing from the TUC says: 'It is clear that the voluntary approach has failed to ensure that directors in all organisations, public and private, take responsibility for the health and safety of the staff they employ. Even if it has led to a majority of boards of organisations receiving regular reports on health and safety, or appointing a 'champion' at board level, there is still nothing that can be done about those companies that do not. These are companies where the only concern of the board members is the bottom line. It is because of these organisations that we need a specific legal duty on directors.'

TUC adds: 'Directors of companies who are already complying with good practice will have nothing to fear from such a duty. It is only those who think they can continue to get away with ignoring the call for corporate responsibility who would be at risk if they continue to run organisations that put the lives of their workers at risk.' The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) board will in the new year consider the findings of the two year review of the current voluntary approaches to directors' duties.

TUC Directors Duties breifing document (Dec 09)

Source: TUC Risks

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