Directors & officers liability – am I liable

“If you are a director for a small company and your business is sued, you could find yourself personally liable.”

Directors of companies of all sizes can find themselves on the receiving end of the law. Here are a couple of recent construction cases, which illustrate when things can go very wrong.

The Fall

A construction company has been fined £60,000 plus costs after pleading guilty to safety failings after an employee fell through a skylight roof.

The employee fell through the skylight on a London industrial estate, four and half metres onto a concrete floor, and suffered life changing injuries including a fractured back.

The judge described the accident as foreseeable as there was no protection to prevent a fall from or through the roof.

She ruled that the company fell far short of the required standards for managing risks at work, as the supervisor was not trained and there was a complete lack of planning with no risk assessment, or method statement for the work.

Exposed to Asbestos

A builder has been jailed for exposing workers to asbestos whilst working at a commercial unit on a Welsh industrial estate.

Three men were exposed to potentially deadly asbestos fibres while working in the unit, as well as the contractor who was given a 26 week custodial sentence.

The builder had been employed to remove asbestos from the building prior to sale. A Health and Safety Executive investigation found that he had removed a significant quantity of asbestos from the premises, despite not holding a licence to work with such material.

It is important to remember it is not only the company that is at risk. If you are a director for a small company and your business is sued, you could find yourself personally liable. Claims can come from employees, clients or even fellow directors.

Make sure you and your business are properly protected. A Directors and Officers (D&O) policy can prove to be invaluable in helping to cover defence costs as well as damages.

For more information on Directors & Officers Liability insurance, call us today.