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Are Managers or Line Managers Responsible for Health and Safety?    printable version of this document

Business managers and line-managers may find themselves responsible for accidents and injuries, even if they do not own the business.  This is in part because every employee has a legal responsibility to work safely and not to endanger the health and safety of other employees or those likely to be affected by the work.

The HSE Enforcement Guidelines say as follows:


Any enforcement action will be directed against dutyholders responsible for a breach. This may be employers in relation to workers or others exposed to risks; the self-employed; owners of premises; suppliers of equipment; designers or clients of projects; or employees themselves. Where several dutyholders have responsibilities, enforcing authorities may take action against more than one when it is appropriate to do so in accordance with this policy."


It is therefor the responsibility of each individual to participate fully in health and safety issues and to bring any health and safety concerns to their employers' attention. If they do not, they run the risk of being personally responsible if things go wrong.

"Prosecution of individuals:

Enforcing authorities should identify and prosecute or recommend prosecution of individuals if they consider that a prosecution is warranted. In particular, they should consider the management chain and the role played by individual directors and managers, and should take action against them where the inspection or investigation reveals that the offence was committed with their consent or connivance or to have been attributable to neglect on their part and where it would be appropriate to do so in accordance with this policy. Where appropriate, enforcing authorities should seek disqualification of directors under the Company Directors Disqualification Act 1986.”

If you are a manager, you therefore need to work with the owners of the business to ensure that the business has the proper health and safety culture and is actively creating and maintaining a safe, healthy working environment.

It is also possible that managers will be held to be “responsible persons” under the new Fire Safety Order 2005 currently in force and under the Reporting of Accident Regulations (RIDDOR)

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Did you know:

Managers and line-managers
have an important health
and safety role to play
in any work place

Managers and line managers
are often the first to
know if there is a problem
and the ones most likely
to have a solution

Employees have duties
under the legislation
as well as employers

Employees must take
reasonable care of themselves
and others affected
by their acts or ommissions

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

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

The courts will impose
fines and imprisonment
as penalties