On the 6th April 2008 the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007 came into force thus meaning; corporate manslaughter has been deemed a criminal offence under the Act.
Since the Act came into for there have been two Companies charged:-
- Cotswold Geotechnical Holdings Ltd
In handing down the sentence on 17th February 2009 the Company was fined £385,000 as a result of the death of Mr Alexander Wright, 27, on the 5th September 2008. Mr Wright died whilst the 3.8 meter trench he was working in alone caved in on him.
For more information see CPS-Cotswold
2. Lion Steel Ltd
Upon recommendations from the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) on 1st July 2011 Greater Manchester Police charged the Company under the Act with corporate manslaughter following the death of Steven Barry, employee, who fell through a fragile plastic roof panel.
Subsequently the Company is also charged under the Health and Safety Works Acts 1974 for “failing to ensure the safety at work of its employees” together with three Directors being accused of gross negligence manslaughter and failure to “ensure the safety at work of their employees”
The first hearing will take place at Tameside Magistrates' Court on the 2 August 2011 and we will continue to report on the matter as it progresses.
For more information see CPS-Lion Steel
Companies and organisations are now advised to treat their obligations under health and safety law more seriously than ever as penalties include unlimited fines, remedial orders and publicity orders. Under the Act, health and safety legislation means "any statutory provision dealing with health and safety matters" to include transport (road, rail, river, sea, air) food safety and workplace safety as enforced by HSE and local authorities.
Both cases prove the importance for businesses, whatever size, to have robust health and safety practices. With the Law governing Health and Safety practices being such a specialised area, our advice to any Company or Organisation is to get your practices checked by an Expert. Undertake a review of such procedures, provide additional training for senior management and keep all policies up to date in order to avoid a wide range of criminal offences including that of; the common law offence of gross negligence manslaughter.
In the interim the CPS website provides extremely useful information answering frequently asked questions CPR-Questions