Government pressed to bring in new laws on worker safety

An organisation that promotes worker and public safety wants new laws and
more resources

The Government is facing increasing pressure to bring in sweeping new laws
to crack down on employers who endanger their workers. This follows the launch
of a coalition of unions, safety organisations and bereaved families to
highlight the issue.

The Centre for Corporate Accountability – an organisation set up in 1999 to
promote worker and public safety – has joined forces with a group of bereaved
families and the TUC.

The coalition, the Campaign for Corporate Accountability, wants new laws to
be introduced and for the Health and Safety Executive and local authorities to
be given more resources.

At the coalition’s launch in January, TUC general secretary John Monks
unveiled a map of the UK showing where 1,500 workers had been killed in the
past five years, region by region.

The two organisations and bereaved families are calling for legally binding
safety duties to be imposed on individual company directors, a new law on
corporate killing and a substantial increase in the number of health and safety
inspectors.

They want to see greater powers for union safety reps, higher fines and more
innovative penalties for breaches of health and safety law. They also want
courts to have the option of imprisoning company directors and managers, and a
tougher prosecution policy, particularly in relation to the conduct of
directors.

David Bergman, executive director of the CCA, said: "Significant
reforms in law and policy are necessary to ensure dangerous companies are made
safe and those companies and directors who negligently or recklessly cause
death, injury or disease or who place others at unacceptable risks, are held to
account."

Monks added: "Unions and employers working in partnership can do so
much more than the law requires. We don’t want anyone to get away with doing
less, because that would mean more deaths, injuries and illnesses."

The Government has said it intends to create a new offence on corporate
killing, and may even extend this to making company bosses personally liable
for management failings that lead to deaths in the workplace.

But a lack of Parliamentary time has so far held up any moves towards
drawing up legislation.

www.tuc.org.uk

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