The Health and Safety at Work Act will establish a due diligence duty, placing an onus on employers to proactively manage health and safety. As part of this responsibility, employers will need to:
• Display a functional understanding of the hazards and risks associated with the day-to-day activities of their organisation.
• Establish clear processes for maintaining workplace health and safety.
• Ensure all employees understand their individual responsibilities and are actively involved in workplace health and safety.
Employers who fail to comply with this due diligence duty could face prosecution and possible fines, with the level of these penalties corresponding to the amount of risk employees were exposed to. In instances where recklessness can be proved, a term of imprisonment could be imposed.
The due diligence duty will include all directors and equivalent governance roles in other corporate entities, but does offer protection for specific types of officers, including:
• Anyone acting on a voluntary basis who receives only out-of-pocket expenses.
• Members of a school board of trustees.
• Members elected to local authorities and community and local boards.
The due diligence duty will be applied on a case-by-case basis to each party involved, so an individual will not be held responsible for any indiscretions by an organisation as long as they’ve upheld their own responsibilities.
Compliance with the new Act is mandatory. As a consequence, businesses will need to ensure they have robust procedures in place to deal with the new requirements.
To ensure businesses can embrace these changes with confidence, we’ve developed the Assura Health and Safety software package. Intuitive and user-friendly, Assura will help businesses establish, execute and monitor health and safety protocols in accordance with the new regulations.
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