TUC calls for urgent law review

first_imgRelated posts:No related photos. Comments are closed. Corporate manslaughter is back on the agenda following a not guilty verdicton dockland deathThe Government is being urged to bring forward plans for a new law oncorporate manslaughter, after a company was cleared in November of manslaughterin the case of a casual worker decapitated by the jaws of a crane. John Monks, general secretary of the TUC, said the not guilty verdict was”devastating blow” to the victim’s family. “It is also a blow to everyone who wants to see fewer people killed atwork. It puts the pressure on the Government – we need a new law on corporatekilling so that corporate responsibility is clear and the penalties areeffective, and we need it as soon as possible,” he said. In March, 2001, the Government proposed creating a new offence of corporatekilling, designed to make companies and public bodies criminally liable fordeaths caused by poor safety management. However, the legislation was not included in the last Queen’s Speech,although ministers have indicated the subject is still very much on the agenda.Simon Jones, 24, was killed at Shoreham dockyard in West Sussex in May 1998when the jaws of a mechanical grabber closed over him, severing his head. A jury at London’s Old Bailey cleared general manager Richard Martell andthe company, Euromin, of manslaughter, although the firm was found guilty oftwo breaches of health and safety regulations. It was fined £50,000 and orderedto pay £20,000 in costs. Jones, a student on his first day in the job, had been helping to unloadbags of stones from the hold of a cargo ship. He was killed when the lever thatoperated the grab got caught in the clothing of the crane operator, causing itto close. The HSE said the verdict showed the difficulties within the present legalsystem of bringing a case of manslaughter against a company or individual outof a death in the workplace. But the fact that the company had been heavily fined showed that health andsafety laws had been effective in this case, a spokesman added. Corporate complacency to blameCorporate complacency is at the heart of this year’s 34 per cent rise inworkplace deaths, the Industrial Society has claimed. In October, the HSC confirmed there had been 295 workplace fatalities in2000/2001, compared with 220 the previous year. The society added its weight to calls for the Government to proceed with itsproposed corporate manslaughter legislation (see above) without delay and urgedemployers to revisit their risk management programmes. Funding for the Health and Safety Executive needed to be increased andcompany directors needed to make sure health and safety was a boardroom issue,it added. At the same time, a poll by the TUC has shown greater appetite among thegeneral public for prosecutions of firms that flout health and safety laws. The telephone poll of 1,000 people found 45 per cent of respondents wantedto see more prosecutions, compared with 19 per cent against. TUC calls for urgent law reviewOn 1 Jan 2002 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Articlelast_img