The Health and Safety Commission and the Institute of Directors have published health and safety guidance for directors of companies.

Leading Health and Safety at Work advises on how to plan, deliver and monitor health and safety in the workplace. Directors following the advice could avoid fines and prosecution under the Corporate Manslaughter Act.

Lord McKenzie of Luton, the health and safety minister, said: “Health and safety of employees is a moral and ethical obligation for every employer and must be driven from board level."

In a report Ucatt criticised the voluntary approach saying there would be a 25% reduction in accidents if companies appointed a director for health and safety.