Tuesday, 10 June 2008

Who's looking after you?

Company directors are well aware of their responsibilities when it comes to health and safety issues in the workplace - but may be ignoring the risks they face themselves.

Our Employment Law Specialist, John Mehtam, said: “Directors of small and medium-sized companies all over the UK are subjecting themselves to health risks from the stressful situations they face every day.

“With the constant stream of changing legislation, and the increasing pressures from the troubled economy, it’s no wonder that directors are finding things difficult. In fact, research has shown that 40 per cent of owner/managers and directors of SMEs are working over the EU maximum limit of 48 hours a week."

John said the Working Time Directive limited the amount of hours people should work during a typical week, with staff required to sign an opt-out form if they were likely to exceed the 48-hour limit.

“But who is keeping an eye on the directors’ hours? And you may even find that working excessive hours is actually counter-productive – are you really working as efficiently as you could be?”

John said owner/managers and directors should take a step back, and start to consider their own working conditions.

“Start by getting a comprehensive medical, paid for by the company. This will not only be tax deductible, which is obviously welcome news, but it will also give you a clear picture of the state of your health. If the results show you are damaging your health, then you’re also damaging the health of your business, so take action as soon as you can.”