Death at work penalties toughened

Companies convicted of corporate manslaughter will face fines of upwards of £500,000 from this week, reports the Financial Times.

Under new guidance issued by the Sentencing Guidelines Council, companies found guilty in the courts will be fined, even if the incident involved occurred some years ago.

The council said that the fines “may be millions of pounds and should seldom be below £500,000”.

It also recommended fines from £100,000 up to “hundreds of thousands of pounds” for other health and safety offences that cause death.

According to the council, publicity orders should also be imposed in “virtually all cases”. These would compel organisations to publish statements about any convictions for corporate manslaughter, as well as details of the offence and fine.

The first corporate manslaughter trial is to start in Bristol next week, involving

Cotswold Geotechnical Holdings. The company, which carries out geological surveys, is accused of a “gross breach” of duty following the death of a junior employee when a pit collapsed on him.

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