Corporate manslaughter: what you need to know
The death of a geologist recently resulted in the first conviction under the Corporate Manslaughter Act. In this article from HRZone.co.uk, Jim Irving explains the ramifications of the new legislation.
The Corporate Manslaughter Act came into force on 6 April 2008 and introduced new offences where health and safety breaches led to fatal consequences, which can result in fines starting from £500,000 in the event of a conviction.
The law was accompanied in January 2009 by the implementation of provisions in the Health and Safety (Offences) Act 2008 to jail any employees found to have contributed to a health and safety offence by their consent, connivance or neglect.
The new legislation hit the headlines in the recent case against Cotswold Geotechnical Holdings Ltd, which resulted in a £385,000 fine for the firm after Alexander Wright was killed when the pit he was working in collapsed. The Gloucestershire-based firm was found to have seriously failed in its obligations to keep its workforce safe by ignoring guidance prohibiting entry to pits over 1.2m. At the time of his death, Wright had also been working unsupervised and alone.
Three years on, and in light of the recent prosecution, have businesses done all they can to protect their staff? Sadly, the answer is not always yes.