Industrial Health and Safety: Directors

Work and Pensions written question – answered on 1st April 2008.

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Photo of Michael Clapham Michael Clapham Labour, Barnsley West and Penistone

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what percentage of all organisations have agreed, in accordance with guidance issued by the Health and Safety Executive, to appoint voluntarily a director to take responsibility for safety and health duties in the (a) private, (b) public and (c) third sectors.

Photo of Anne McGuire Anne McGuire The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

holding answer 27 March 2008

There is no evidence yet available on the impact of the guidance on director leadership issued jointly by the HSC and the Institute of Directors, published in November 2007.

However, a programme of research was undertaken over four years following the issue in 2001 by the HSC of guidance on directors' responsibilities. This research involved a telephone survey examining the health and safety responsibilities of company directors and management board members in large organisations, and found:

Percentage where a board director has responsibility for health and safety
Percentage of type
2001 2003 2005
Top 350 85 90 82
Large Firms 73 87 84
Public Sector 74 77 89
Voluntary 86 55 (1)
All 75 82 85
(1) Voluntary organisations were not surveyed in 2005 as the previous surveys found that the number of large voluntary organisations was relatively small and hence it was difficult to secure a response.

There is separate evidence available from a postal survey carried out as part of an evaluation of HSE's enforcement policy statement in 2004. This covered firms of all sizes (including sole traders, micro and small firms) and found that 44 per cent. of all organisations questioned, reported having a 'Health and Safety Board Director'. This included 33 per cent. of the charities questioned; 86 per cent. of central Government organisations; 67 per cent. of local government organisations; and 50 per cent. of social services.

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