Guidance for business leaders

Business leaders (such as business owners, directors and chief executives) have an obligation as officers to exercise due diligence to ensure the business meets its health and safety obligations.

You must take reasonable steps to:

  • know about work health and safety matters and keep that knowledge up-to-date
  • understand of the nature of the business operations and associated hazards and risks
  • ensure the business has appropriate resources and processes to eliminate or minimise those risks and to comply with other health and safety obligations, and check that the business uses them
  • ensure there are appropriate processes for receiving and considering information about incidents, hazards and risks, and for responding in a timely way.

With the Institute of Directors, we have produced two pieces of guidance for small-to-medium and medium-to-large businesses. 

A guide for small-to-medium business owners and company directors

This guide is for small-to-medium business owners and company directors. It explains how the law applies. It then explains how you can produce a health and safety plan using three steps, and what good health and safety systems have.

Health and safety leadership guide: for owners and company directors of small to medium businesses  (PDF 1.7 MB)

Good governance for directors

This guide is for directors of medium-to-large businesses. It explains how the law applies and the role of directors in policy and planning, delivery, monitoring and review. It also contains a checklist and a draft terms of reference.

Health and safety guide: good governance for directors (PDF 272 KB)

There is also separate guidance for officers that are volunteers.

Health and safety of volunteers