Business and Director Liability During a Pandemic
Business owners and senior executives need to be aware they face potential personal criminal liability if the organisation commits an offence due to their act or default.
All senior executives have a duty to be as proactive on this, as with other matters, as someone in their position ought reasonably to be. With the current and ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, many employers are working hard to keep up-to-date, and are ensuring they understand the impacts on their business.
There will be many business challenges to consider during the coming weeks, but don’t forget that UK Health and Safety Legislation places specific requirements on employers to conduct suitable and sufficient risk assessments. These cover risks to employees who are at work and also risks to non-employees arising from your operations.
What should I do to stay compliant with H&S legislation?
Making sure you are complying with H&S legislation can easily drop off your to do list with everything else going on, but you must remember:
- Government guidance is changing daily or more frequently and it may be unclear how you ensure you are operating your business safely and in line with health and safety law.
- As a pandemic develops, you may have to balance the safety of your staff against public safety.
Further guidance is here in Moorepay’s HR Hub.
In Summary: Three Top Tips
- Develop your plans, taking into account the demographics and vulnerabilities of your staff and those impacted by your operations.
- Monitor and review to take into account the changing nature of the contagion and your control measures. And I would recommend taking specialist health and safety advice to help you with the more difficult decisions.
- Document your thought process in a Risk Assessment form to help you make the right decision and to provide evidence that the business and its directors took all reasonably practicable actions given some form of blame if things were to go wrong.