Health & Safety Governance Guidelines

May 22nd, 2013

The Minister of Labour Simon Bridges has released health & safety guidelines for directors. Don’t think this only applies to larger companies. If you’re a director of a SME then these apply to you. So what are some of the key findings of the report?

Why should directors worry about health & safety?

The board & directors are best placed to ensure that the company effectively manages health & safety. They should provide the necessary leadership & are responsible for major decisions that influence health & safety; the strategic direction, securing & allocating resources & ensuring the company has appropriate people, systems & equipment. (Royal Commission on Pike River Coal Mine tragedy)

What is the purpose of the guideline?

The aim is to help directors think of governance from a governance perspective & to:

1. Demonstrate how directors can influence health & safety performance. It starts from the top

2. Provide a framework for directors to lead, plan, review & improve health & safety

3. Assist directors in assessing whether their health & safety systems are of a standard & quality that is effective in minimising risk

4. Encourage directors to create strong, objective lines of reporting & communication to & from the board

The essential principles of health & safety governance are:

1. Leadership
Directors provide leadership & policy that sets direction for health safety

2. Worker participation
Worker participation is a legal requirement but also leads to better health & safety outcomes. Ultimately the safety of these people is paramount so they need to be involved

3. Legislative compliance
Most SME directors are normally busy in their business at an operational level but need to remember it is their responsibility to comply with relevant laws & regulations

There are 4 main roles of directors in health & safety

1. Policy & planning
Determine high level strategy & policy & hold management to account (in an SME that is often the same person)

2. Delivery
Lay down clear expectations & ensure resources are available

3. Monitor
Monitor health & safety within the organisation & seek independent advice when required

4. Review
Ensure the board conducts periodic (annual reviews) of health & safety to determine its effectiveness & engage independent opinions if necessary

If you would like to read more about good governance then check out some of my previous articles by clicking here

If you’d like to read the full article released by the Minister then click here

If you would like some assistance around the governance in your business then please contact Plan A Consulting by clicking here

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