Rising death rate puts corporate killing law back on agenda

The rise in deaths at work reported by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) has prompted renewed calls for legislation on corporate killing from trade unions.


The HSE reported 235 fatal injuries to workers in 2003-04, an increase of 4 per cent on the 227 recorded in 2002-03.


Tony Woodley, general secretary of the Transport & General Workers’ Union, said the rise in deaths showed that safety regimes were not protecting workers in the way they should.


“Each of those individual tragic cases should be a knock on the door to the Prime Minister to say we are not just looking for, we expect to see legislation on corporate killing,” he said. “It’s been seven years coming; we should not have to wait seven more days,” said Woodley.


Health and safety prosecutions rose 6 per cent to 982 last year, according to the HSE’s annual Offences and Penalties Report.


Fines for breaches of health and safety rules rose to an average of £14,000 per successful prosecution from £8,800 in 2002-03. The HSE prosecuted 17 directors and managers last year, with 11 resulting in convictions.


 

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