Organisations whose actions cause the death of person came one step closer to prosecution when the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Bill received its second reading yesterday.
Under current law, a company can only be convicted of corporate manslaughter if there is enough evidence to find a single senior person guilty.
The proposed criminal offence will enable the courts to consider the overall picture of how an organisation’s activities were managed by its senior managers, rather than focusing on the actions of one individual.
Neil Budworth, president of the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health, said the new law was essential to improve corporate accountability and health and safety standards.
Budworth said: “We are pleased that a number of our suggestions have been incorporated into the Bill, such as the removal of the need to prove a profit motive in order to secure a conviction and the widening of the relevant duty of care.
“This will mean only the negligence of the corporate body as a whole has to be proven rather than the current situation where a single senior individual’s negligence has to be proven, which is incredibly difficult in large companies.
“This Bill needs to go through promptly, without any further delay, to ensure victims’ families get the justice they are so often denied at present.”
The Bill will now go to committee.