One of the more controversial elements of the ‘Safety Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005’ was the section dealing with the personal responsibility, and the liability of directors and senior managers. Inherent in this was an involvement in the decision-making processes which contributed, or partially contributed, to an accident
This is part of a developing trend, particularly under both Irish and UK law. The scope of the aforementioned duty of care is a fundamental to factor in the possible prosecution, as is the degree of foreseeability and proximity to the nature of the offence committed.
A specific action leading to the offence is not necessarily required. The wording used to describe the duties involved includes "consented to or is attributable to connivance or neglect on the part of a person being a director, manager or other". This may, potentially, include turning a blind eye to an activity or occurrence. While the legislation does not single out any particular sector, construction is by its very nature a high risk industry within a fast-moving environment. There have been a number of prosecutions and convictions in both Ireland and the UK in recent years in this regard.