I totally agree that the safety systems and culture in any company have to be put in place and enforced by senior management. I have, however, always disagreed with our lawmakers that the “buck stops” at the senior management. Safety is the responsibility of every employee.

In the past an accident involving personal injury would always lead to a prosecution of the company and only rarely would the employee receive more than “a slap over the fingers”. This would be the case even where the employee – for reasons of laziness, expediency or willful neglect – caused the accident. 

A new law introduced in Denmark earlier this year changes this. If a company involved in an accident with personal injuries can prove that they have adequate safety systems in place, that the employee has received up to date training and been instructed in the use of all proper safety equipment, then the company might no longer be prosecuted. Now, where an employee chooses to ignore his training, he will face prosecution alone. 

The law is still quite new and has yet to be tested in a courtroom. Everyone should be happy with a system where the buck ends up where it rightfully belongs. 

As Colin Wood wrote, everyone is personally answerable to the law when committing a driving offence on the way to work and there is no logic justifying why the same should not apply when our employees go through the site gates to a work place.

Soeren Jansen

Managing director, BMS A/S – Denmark