March 13, 2020

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.

If you’re a Moorepay customer and you’re not sure if you’re currently compliant with H&S legislation when it comes to your employees during the COVID-19 outbreak, please contact our 24/7 Advice Line.

Click here for more information about our H&S Services.

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About the author

Philip Barker

About the author

Philip Barker

Philip has worked for Moorepay for over nine years, starting as a Health & Safety Consultant in February 2008 before taking up the position of Consultancy Manager in January 2015. Coming from a retail background, both as a store manager and health & safety professional, he already had a good cross industry experience. Working at Moorepay has provided an opportunity to broaden both knowledge and experience across a wide range of industry sectors. Philip started his health & safety career after a number of years managing retail stores and holds a HNC in Environmental Health Studies, a Diploma in Environmental Policy and a NEBOSH Diploma.

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