Queen speaks of safety – but not corporate killing

New laws to
“revitalise” health and safety at work were announced in the Queen’s Speech,
but plans to introduce a new offence of corporate killing were not included.

The
measures will form part of the Safety Bill, one of 19 pieces of legislation
earmarked for the 2000-01 parliamentary session.

Most of the
Bill will be devoted to transport safety but there will be a section on health
and safety in the workplace, the Queen announced in her 12-minute speech.

Penalties
for health and safety offences will be tougher and public organisations will
lose their immunity from prosecution.

Fines could
be linked to company turnover and there may be prison sentences for a wider
range of offences.

Moves to
reduce the level of workplace deaths, accidents and ill-health were unveiled
over the summer by Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott.

Of the
Safety Bill, Prescott said, “There have been a number of disturbing safety
issues raised in recent years, both among the travelling public and in the
workplace. We are determined to do something about this.”

The Safety
Bill has been published in draft form and is unlikely to get on the statute
book before the General Election, expected next May.

It will,
however, get a high priority if the Government secures a second term.

 

By Helena
Jones

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