If you run your own business you will know that it is a world of many ups and downs. The hard parts are when the work starts to take up the weekends and evenings and emails come on holiday with us, causing us to miss time with our family or friends. Or when we might be awake into the small hours worrying about just how we are going to solve that latest problem, and never quite switching off.

But the good times do make up for it. There is such a feeling of satisfaction when things go well. When your company pulls off a great project that you can be truly proud of, when an employee realises their full potential and when we reach those oh so important financial milestones. The thrill of this is deeply addictive. How many of us would ever want to say good bye to that?

A story has appeared just this week about an individual who has been banned from being a company director. Why? Because he put people at risk and tried to get around the consequences. Michael Allen liquidated his company (Allen and Hunt Construction Engineers) and set up a new business to avoid paying a fine after one of his workers was seriously injured. He has been banned from promoting, forming or managing a company for six years without the permission of the court.

This reckless disregard for others is fortunately rare, but there is, on a far larger scale, a worrying lack of knowledge and understanding out there. Regularly, we meet Directors who don’t really know what their duty of care entails, may not understand what negligence actually means and are largely in the dark about how to go about solving their problems in a structured way. We like the ones who are brave enough to admit it!

The positive side of this issue is that it is relatively simple to fix. Short, straightforward training is available to help – and it’s aimed at a level that will suit those who are approaching this area for the first time. Its heart-warming to see Directors face up to the gaps in their knowledge and enjoy the understanding that comes with attending either IOSH Leading Safely or the CITB Director’s Role course just for one day. Ignorance is no defence, so it’s better to face the gaps in our knowledge and start filling them as soon as possible.

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