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Duties of managers

Last updated April 2024

This chapter explains what managers need to do to comply with their duties under health and safety legislation in all jurisdictions.

Health and safety duties of managers

Definition: Manager

A manager is someone who has the power to make decisions that affect the business, or parts of the business, in a substantial way.

Managers have the same duty of care as other workers under health and safety legislation – that is, to take reasonable care of themselves and others.

Managers also have increased levels of responsibility because, as managers, they:

  • supervise workers;
  • enforce the business’ safety management system; and
  • ensure the safety management system is effectively maintained.
Definition: Safety Management System

A safety management system is a system designed to ensure that health and safety issues are addressed in a systematic and integrated way. It is a set of planned actions, policies and procedures that forms the framework for managing health and safety in the workplace. The safety management system should ensure that workers are competent in identifying hazards, assessing risks and implementing relevant controls to eliminate the risk of injury.
Caution: If a manager fails to meet their health and safety obligations, they can face significant penalties. Your business can also be held vicariously liable for their actions.