According to the Centre for Corporate Accountability 291 people died whilst at work in 2001. Almost all could have been prevented had they complied with Health and Safety laws. This figure is rising annually. 27,935 workers were also reported to have suffered serious injuries, although these figures do not cover work related injuries at sea, on the road or serious illnesses.
In the last 10 years there have been over 3,000 workplace deaths yet only 4 small firms have been convicted for manslaughter under the existing corporate manslaughter law. The new Labour Government promised to reform the law on involuntary manslaughter in October 1997 and to introduce a new offence of Corporate Killing. These reforms were also mentioned in the 2001 Labour Party Manifesto.
In the recent Queens speech it was announced that there would be an absence of Corporate Killing legislation in this years work plan. Therefore Tony Blair’s crime blitz to safeguard victims of crime will not include those killed or injured by workplace safety criminals. According to the CCA there have been 2000 workplace deaths since Labour came to power.
Corporate killing proposals can be broken into 4 distinct sections:
Corporate Killing - This will make a company accountable in criminal law where conduct falls far below that which can be expected. The proposed penalty is an unlimited fine and a remedial order designed to prevent the original cause of the accident.
Killing by Gross Carelessness - This covers where there is a risk that an individual’s conduct would result in death or a serious injury and that the risk would have been obvious to a ‘reasonable’ person. The individual’s concerned conduct fell far below that what could have been expected. Or they intended their action to cause an injury, or they took a risk knowing that it might cause injury. The maximum proposed penalty is 10 years in prison.
Reckless Killing - This is when an individual knows there is a risk that their conduct would cause a fatality or serious injury. The maximum proposed penalty is life imprisonment.
Killing when the intention was to cause only minor injury but death was caused by an unforeseeable event. – This would lead to a maximum penalty of between 5 and 10 years in prison. [PH&S]
Brian Ellis who was supervising Steven on the day he died, as the head mechanic should have ensured his safety at all times, he didn’t! Beyond reasonable doubt he must have known that the method he was using was not safe. He should have been charged and be serving a prison sentence.
He isn’t, he is getting on with his life……Steven isn’t!
The law needs changing! Innocent lives are being lost, family’s lives are being ruined and people are getting away with murder!! The current law protects people who have been negligent or reckless from prosecution.
The Trades Union Congress [TUC] and the Centre for Corporate Accountability [CCA] have launched a campaign for corporate accountability for workers Health and Safety. It was launched at the beginning of 2002 and will come to a head on Workers Memorial Day on April the 28th 2003. This is a day where worldwide people remember the dead and fight for the living.
They are campaigning for:
What you can do
Contact your local MP and ask them if they are supporting the campaign for corporate killing. If not, why not?!
We have designed a petition calling for stronger changes to the law than the Government have recently proposed. The petitions will then be sent to Downing Street.
To obtain a petition, please contact us stating how many you require and your address.