Tom McNeill writes for Building Magazine on company liability for safety breaches by individuals

BCL senior associate Tom McNeill writes for Building Magazine discussing to what extent organisations are responsible for the failings of individuals.

Here is a short extract from the article*. If you wish to read the full article, please visit Building Magazine website.

Scope of legal duties

The Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 (HSWA) places a number of general duties on employers and others, breach of which is a criminal offence. While health and safety regulations impose more specific (and sometimes stricter) requirements, the overarching duties on employers are those contained in sections 2 and 3 of the HSWA. These require employers to ensure, so far as reasonably practicable, the health and safety of employees and non-employees affected by the conduct of the undertaking.

Employers can delegate the performance of the duties to others, but not responsibility for non-performance. Even if an organisation has devised a safe system of work, a failure to operate that system, whether by an employee or contractor, is likely to place the employer in breach of its duty. Reasonably practicable steps will include not only instructing on safety procedures but also ensuring that they are followed, such as by reasonable supervision and monitoring.


*This article was first published by Building Magazine on 29 July 2022. If you wish to read the full article, please visit Building Magazine website.

Please note that you will need a subscription with Building Magazine to access the article.

Tom McNeill is a senior associate at BCL Solicitors, specialising in corporate crime, financial crime and regulatory enforcement. His expertise includes internal investigations, corporate and director liability, corporate manslaughter, health and safety, fire safety, environmental protection, trading standards, and Coroners’ inquests, as well as all types of fraud, bribery and money laundering. He has conducted privilege-protected internal investigations on behalf of a range of corporate clients following fatal accidents and other serious regulatory breaches, and in relation to suspected financial crime.

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