Employer is first to be convicted under corporate manslaughter legislation

A company has become the first to be convicted under corporate manslaughter legislation, following the death of one of its employees.

Sarah Taylor, lawyer at Pinsent Masons, explains HR’s role in relation to the corporate manslaughter legislation.

Cotswold Geotechnical (Holdings) Ltd was found guilty of failing to ensure the safety of Alexander Wright, a geologist who died in 2008 when a pit collapsed on him.

Wright was alone in the 12.6ft-deep unsupported trial pit when it caved in at a development site in Gloucestershire. The pit should have been supported by timber structures to reduce the risk of collapse, but no support was in place. Wright died from traumatic asphyxia as he was crushed by the weight of the soil in the pit.

The company has been fined £385,000, but is allowed to pay off the fine over ten years, at £38,500 a year.

The prosecution, at Winchester Crown Court, was the first under the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007. The company had denied the charge of corporate manslaughter.

FAQs on the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007:

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