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Who is Responsible for Health and Safety in my Business?                          printable version of this document

All businesses have obligations under the Act. 

This includes individuals who own their own business and are sole proprietors, partnerships and companies.  It even includes the self-employed.

These responsibilities cannot be left to someone else.  It is acceptable to delegate day-to-day responsibility to someone you trust to do a good job. Indeed it is the law that you must do so, if you do not feel fully competent yourself.  This need not be an outside consultant, of course.  It can be any competent person, including one of your employees. 

Even then, you must still supervise the activities of those you appoint.  It is not a good enough answer to say: Fred said he would do it and leave it at that.

Sub Contractors have the same responsibility to their employees and to persons who may be affected by their work as Contractors do. Contractors must supervise their sub contractors.

Health and Safety Responsibilities for Sole Proprietors and the Self Employed

Where the employer is a self-employed person or a sole proprietor, then that person is clearly the one who will be held responsible for ensuring that the legal duties have been fulfilled.

It is vital that if you do not feel up to discharging these responsibilities yourself, that you appoint a competent person to help you straight away. If you do not you are already breaking the law.

Health and Safety Responsibilities for Partnerships and Companies

Where the employer is a partnership, every partner is responsible. Where the employer is a company, every director is responsible.

In the case a partnership or a company, if no one is given day-to-day responsibility on behalf of all of the partners or directors, then every single partner or director must personally ensure that the day-to-day responsibilities under the law are being discharged.

The Board of Directors or the Partnership Meetings must then supervisor the person given responsibility.

Did you know:

A good health and safety policy
can actually reduce costs

The HSE publish the names
of every individual and every business that they prosecute

The HSE will prosecute
individuals in the
management chain who have neglected their responsibilities
or connived or consented to breaches.

The courts will impose
fines and imprisonment
as penalties

The HSE may also
seek to have you
disqualified from acting
as a director of this
or any other business
for up to 15 years