Who Must Manage Safety and Health at Work?

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Anyone at work who is responsible for directing workers while at work and organising work activities, also have health and safety responsibilities for those workers. These include:

  • Directors of all types of workplaces in both the private and public sectors
  • Senior Officers of businesses
  • Board chairpersons and board members
  • Senior managers and any other managers or supervisors

These people must ensure that the safety and health risks, arising from their work activities are properly managed. They must control the key risk areas for their employees, their customers and the public who maybe affected by what they do in the workplace.

Many small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs) do not operate within formal management structures, like larger undertakings and corporations. However, all workplaces, whether large or small, tend to have a governing body of some sort consisting of two or more Directors, such as a Managing Director or a works manager. These people must understand and meet their legal responsibilities as in many cases they are the employer under the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005 as well.

For all businesses, whether big or small, it is important that their Directors and Officers are fully informed of the relevant safety and health matters and requirements that apply to them. They need to understand their role in governing safety and health as part of their responsibilities for good corporate governance in running their businesses.

Information and guidance

The information on this website will help Directors and Officers of Undertakings on their legal responsibilities as an employer. The definition of ‘undertaking’ in the 2005 Act is all embracing and covers all types of work and corporate structures that may exist. This information will get these people started on safety and health management. These pages highlight the key areas that Directors must consider when ensuring good corporate governance on safety and health management.

Directors, Officers of Undertakings and their advisers will need to consult the more detailed Authority Publications on this website in order to put the good practices which are highlighted here into place. When these pages refers to safety and health, it means the safety, health and welfare of workers and others while at work or while in the workplace.

Compliance, protection and benefits

There are several reasons why Directors and Officers of Undertakings must manage safety and health at work. These include:

  • Complying with  their responsibilities under the 2005 Act and in particular being aware of their liabilities under Section 80 of the Act
  • Protecting the undertakings' reputation and assets
  • The benefits of creating a positive health and safety culture