Personal liability of executives : production of written safety policy
A workman fell to his death while repairing a road bridge over the River Clyde. Mr Armour was director of roads for Strathclyde Regional Council and as such the responsibility of supervising the safety of road workers was his. He had not produced a written safety policy for such work, i.e. he had not drawn up a written safe system of work.
Mr Armour’s defence was that he was under no personal duty to carry out the Council’s statutory duties, one of which was as described above. This was rejected on the grounds that s.37 (1) of the 1974 Act imposed the personal duty to carry out the Council’s statutory duty to prepare a written safe system of work. This he had failed to do and was therefore guilty of an offence.
Directors, managers and secretaries (i.e. company
secretaries) are personally under the duty to ensure that the
company's statutory duties are performed. Failure of performance of
statutory duties renders these executives open to personal
If a safe system of work is not maintained as a result of a manager's neglect to formulate a written safety policy for his department then he is liable to prosecution.
Statute: Health and Safety at Work etc., Act 1974, s.37 (1)