Corporate Manslaughter explained

by Michael Addison in Health & Safety, Workplace Safety | posted:

corporate manslaughter explained

It’s been ten years since the introduction of the Corporate Manslaughter at work act. Since then only 25 companies have faced prosecution; albeit small organisations.

 

What spurred the act on was the first successful case of corporate manslaughter in UK law,  the Lyme Bay Canoeing Tragedy.  Following gross negligence of the site owner, public opinion demanded greater regulation of companies. The law commission began drafting a proposal which finally came to fruition on April 6th, 2008.

 

The Australian government has taken inspiration from this with their addition of “industrial manslaughter“.  This law gives owners and senior executives greater scrutiny over negligent deaths. Ten years on from the introduction of the Corporate Manslaughter act and so few convictions, does the law need updating?

 

What does Corporate Manslaughter mean for small businesses?

 

Corporate manslaughter is committed when a companies actions result in a work-related death. There are several cases of companies fined and directors sentenced for gross negligence.

 

One of the sentencing guidelines for corporate manslaughter is that the fine must be enough to punish the business but not enough to shut it down.  This consideration was created to avoid castigating employees.

 

Like many laws its implementation is meant as a deterrent, in this case, to lead companies to manage health and safety priorities.

 

How safe are UK workers?

 

In comparison to other countries, the UK is much safer for the average worker. According to a 2014 report across the European Union, the UK has 0.5 fatal accidents per hundred thousand workers, compared to countries like France with 3.14.

 

Additionally, the Health and Safety Executive published last years findings and compared to twenty years ago, the number of workers killed by work activities has fallen, yet with 137 deaths in 2017, that’s still too much.

 

Health & Safety for your business

 

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