Health & Safety Update ~ Corporate Manslaughter
The Crown Prosecution Service is bringing three more prosecutions under the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007. Up until now, there have only been three successful convictions under this Act across the whole of the United Kingdom.
An Organisation can be found guilty of an offence under the 2007 act if: -
A fatality is caused by a gross breach of a relevant duty of care and;
If the Senior Management of the Organisation has organised its activities in a way that formed a substantial element of that breach.
A conviction can result in the application of unlimited fines; with a recommended starting point of £500,000 although the convictions so far have seen much lower fines imposed, with £480,000 being the highest fine to date in a case against Lion Steel Ltd in July 2012. The three cases being brought are: -
A Garden Nursery is to be prosecuted following the fatal electrocution of a worker, when the metal hydraulic trailer he was towing touched an overhead power line. The nursery operator faces charges of Corporate Manslaughter and also of breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 for failing to ensure the safety of its employees.
A mining company is to be prosecuted following the deaths of four miners working at one of its Collieries. In addition, the Manager of the Mine will also face charges on four counts of ‘gross-negligence manslaughter’ as it is alleged by the CPS that the manner in which the activities were organised at the mine were managed by senior management in such a way that they failed to ensure a ‘safe system of working’. It is alleged that this failure amounts to a gross breach of the duty of care owed by the Company to the miners and this ultimately resulted in the death of the four miners.
The final case involves a sporting club; who will be prosecuted for Corporate Manslaughter following the death of a young-girl, who fell from a ‘banana boat ride’ and was then hit by the boat that was towing the ride. The Club will also be charged with breaches of the Health and Safety at Work Act for failing to conduct their business in a way that ensures, as far as is reasonably practicable, that others are not exposed to risk. A director of the Club will also be charged under this act.
We will continue to monitor these cases and bring you an update when they become available.