Employers unprepared for corporate manslaughter laws

Eight in 10 bosses are unprepared for the new workplace killing law which comes into force in just over two months, according to a poll.

Senior managers could face jail for lapses in safety policy leading to staff fatalities after the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007 comes into effect on 6 April.

But 79% of 1,685 employers surveyed this month by employment law firm Peninsula admitted they were unaware of the new law.

Noel Pilling, health and safety director at Peninsula, said: “The new act clarifies the criminal liabilities of companies where serious failures in management of health and safety result in fatality.

“Businesses everywhere will need to ensure that health and safety procedures are up to date, reviewed on a regular basis and strictly enforced.”

If a health and safety offence is committed with the consent, connivance or neglect of an individual in a senior management position, that individual can be prosecuted.

Pilling advised HR professionals: “Appoint someone at a senior level who will act responsibly and reasonably for corporate health and safety. Then, should a disaster occur, neither they nor the company will be prosecutable for manslaughter.”

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