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The board of directors provides overall strategic direction for the company. Generally directors are not required to become involved in the day-to-day management of corporations. With the recent amendments to occupational health and safety (“OHS”) laws, directors’ duties have been expanded. Directors now have statutory duties to ensure their companies do not breach OHS standards. If their companies fail to discharge their OHS duties, then directors can face fines. If a person is killed because of their company’s safety breach, then directors can face jail sentences up to 20 years. The imposition of these substantial penalties upon directors is aimed at increasing corporate compliance with OHS standards. This article outlines the extent of directors’ liabilities. Whether the policy of holding directors liable for OHS duties results in safer workplaces remains to be seen.
This document has been peer reviewed.