A Home Office
minister has pledged to introduce a new offence of corporate killing in the
next Parliament, which means employers will have to overhaul their whole
approach to health and safety.
claimed that the Government remains committed to the introduction of a draft
face unlimited fines and directors could be sentenced to life imprisonment if
found liable for deaths caused by collective management failure under the
group HR director of Pentland Group, said a new corporate killing law would
force companies to increase health and safety planning, budgets and testing
“Businesses will have to fundamentally review their approach to health and
safety. There’s a massive implication for the relationship between
managers and staff as managers will have to enforce it.
also be a mad rush for people to cover themselves, and reassign accountability
down to the individual employee,” he added.
have to adopt a more hands-on role on safety, warned Sir Neville Purvis, director
general of British Safety Council.
of a safety director and careful monitoring of performance at board level would
reduce the risk of prosecution, Purvis said.
But it is still
unclear whether directors will be individually liable for a collective board
former HR director of Littlewoods, believes that for the new law to be effective
it needs to identify individuals. “If there’s a collective responsibility it’s
easy for things to lose focus. Its objective is to improve health and safety,
and if it provides that focus, it’s got to be a step in the right direction,”
wants to replace involuntary manslaughter laws, which have led to only three
convictions since they were brought in 30 years ago, despite a run of rail and
Speech tomorrow is likely to include a draft Safety Bill that will include a
commitment to the corporate killing law.