Pike River: New director obligations? - 5th Nov 2012

The following recommendations have been made by the Royal Commission into the Pike River Disaster. Recommendations (potentially) affecting directors are:

• The statutory responsibilities of directors for health and safety in the workplace should be reviewed to better reflect their governance responsibilities.

• The health and safety regulator should issue an approved code of practice to guide directors on how good governance practices can be used to manage health and safety risks.

• Directors should rigorously review and monitor their organisation's compliance with health and safety law and best practice.

Regardless of whether these recommendations end up in legislation or regulations affecting workplace safety and health, and regardless of whether or not you operate in the mining industry, they serve as a sharp reminder that health and safety are (rightly in our view) considered to be prime amongst the areas for which ultimate responsibility rests with boards and their directors.

If you are unsure of:

1. Whether or not your current governance practice covers this adequately; or,
2. How to devise suitable policy; or,
3. How to administer, monitor and review in this area

contact us. Now that these matters have been given (further) prominence ignorance, niggardliness and unwillingness to invest in this area is unlikely to be regarded as an adequate defence by any Court.

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