CIPD opposes tougher laws despite increase in deaths

The CIPD has rejected calls for tougher laws on corporate manslaughter
following the release of Health & Safety Executive figures that show the
number of people killed at work rose by more than a third last year.

There were 295 deaths in the workplace in the UK last year, an increase of
34 per cent on the previous year. There were 220 fatalities in 1999-2000.

TUC general secretary John Monks criticised employers’ approach to safety
and renewed calls for the introduction of a corporate killing law.

But while the CIPD accepts the increase is a problem that needs to be
addressed, it does not believe new legislation is the solution.

Diane Sinclair, employee relations manager of the CIPD, said, "We
believe there should be a tougher application of the current Health &
Safety Act by the HSE. The law, as it stands, already provides for directors to
go to prison and for unlimited fines against offenders."

The figures also show that 56 per cent of non-fatal injuries go unreported
by employers, despite a legal requirement to do so.

Monks said, "These numbers should wipe away any trace of complacency in
Britain’s boardrooms. Last week, we heard about British bosses paying
themselves huge bonuses, this week we hear about the price that workers pay in
injuries, illness and ultimately death."

Construction was the hardest hit sector, accounting for 106 deaths out of
the 295 fatalities.

By Karen Higginbottom

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