Responsibility and accountability are often confused with each other or used synonymously, but they have slightly different meanings.
As a manager, you will be responsible for the performance of certain tasks that have been delegated to you and, depending on your position within the organisation, you will have the ability to delegate certain tasks to others, but you will remain accountable for them.
For example, if you manage your own department, you may be responsible for risk assessment within your department. But if it’s a large department, you won’t be able to conduct all the risk assessments yourself, so you delegate the task amongst your subordinate managers. They then become responsible for the performance of those risk assessments, but you will still be accountable, i.e., if they’re not done to an acceptable standard, it is you who must account for that to your own line management.
So although managers can delegate responsibility to team members the accountability remains with the manager.
Manager’s duties will vary from workplace to workplace, but some typical health and safety responsibilities are to ensure that: