law pages of Bournemouth and Poole College.
The Act will make it easier to prosecute firms for deaths in the workplace.The Act sets out a new offence where a “gross failure” results in a personâ€™s death.
Courts are able to look at management systems and practices across the organisation rather than simply the actions of individuals. Firms will increasingly be called upon to demonstrate that they have good safety procedures in place, particularly those companies involved with a supply chain business using contractors or suppliers.
One aspect of the act that is less helpful is the ability of courts to impose an order requiring the organisation to publicise details of its conviction and fine.
The Corporate Manslaughter Act is not just about complying with the law, itâ€™s about making sure that businesses have the right â€˜attitudeâ€™. If a company has a good, strong management system then the new act will not give rise to fundamental changes in a companyâ€™s procedures. It is more a case for those businesses that are not as robust who need to be aware of the act.
The main benefit of the Act may be to raise the profile of good health and safety.
Employers that are already meeting their existing obligations under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 have nothing to fear, as this new act does not bring with it any further requirements.
If an employer is found guilty of corporate manslaughter there is increased damage to the organisational reputation. We have seen some cases such as major rail disasters resulting in punitive fines from the Health and Safety Executive and subsequent damaging headlines. That kind of negative publicity will increase significantly by this legislation.
There were 0.8 fatal workplace injuries for every 100,000 workers in 2006-07.