The New Zealand government has just announced the introduction of new health and safety legislation. It requires companies to keep their employees safe or face some stiff penalties. While many boards and senior management teams display responsible attitudes towards the safety of their employees, some have been been quite cavalier in their approach. The reforms include making directors personally liable for breeches—the penalties being fines of up to $3m (companies) and $600,000 (individuals).
Some may see the proposal as being 'over the top'. However, it has been well signalled: new guidelines for directors were announced ten months ago, in May 2013. The proposal will be a helpful addition to the governance landscape if it drives directors towards taking greater responsibility for their decisions. Certainly, the move towards holding directors accountable for inaction will be welcomed by many.
Thoughts on corporate governance, strategy and the craft of board work; our place in the world; and, other things that catch my attention.