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CCA Press Releases

For Immediate Release

HSE report says that new offence of ‘Corporate Killing" will improve safety and increase accountability

A report published this week by the HSE states that the new corporate manslaughter legislation:

"should act as a powerful deterrence to help prevent needless injuries and deaths whilst at the same time punishing the grossly negligent." (19)

It goes onto conclude that:

"The HSE’s role in regulating, enforcing and monitoring safety corporate governance has been successful in improving [the] state of industrial safety in the UK. This position is likely to be strengthened further by the [proposed] legislation on corporate manslaughter." (p.53).

The report, "The role of managerial leadership in determining workplace safety outcomes", was written by the University of Aberdeen for the HSE. To download this report, Click Here (PDF).

•  To read about the current law of manslaughter, Click Here
•  To read about the proposed new offence of 'corporate killing' click here

The report's conclusions, also provides support for those who argue that the Government should impose safety duties upon company directors. It states:

"decisions made at senior levels will affect the priorities attitudes and behaviours of managers and employees lower down the organisational hierarchy, and be a critical driver on the emphasis that front line managers place on the competing values of safety and productivity."(19)

It goes onto conclude that:

"the studies which have been conducted highlights that top managers attitudes and decisions are critical drivers in setting the priorities of the organisation. Their styles of leadership are also likely to impact on the styles, behaviours and priorities of those below them in the organisational hierarchy."(p.53)

The Government committed itself to legislating on directors duties in its strategy statement, 'Revitalising Health and Safety', published in 2000. Action Point 11 stated:

The Health and Safety Commission will develop a code of practice on Directors' responsibilities for health and safety, in conjunction with stakeholders. It is intended that the code of practice will, in particular, stipulate that organisations should appoint an individual Director for health and safety, or responsible person of similar status (for example in organisations where there is no board of Directors).

The Health and Safety Commission will also advise Ministers on how the law would need to be changed to make these responsibilities statutory so that Directors and responsible persons of similar status are clear about what is expected of them in their management of health and safety. It is the intention of Ministers, when Parliamentary time allows, to introduce legislation on these responsibilities."


•  To read more about 'revitalising health and safety' Click Here



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Notes to Editors

  1. The Centre for Corporate Accountability is an independent nonprofit advice, research and lobbying group at the forefront of seeking to ensure that health and safety law is properly enforced and that deaths and injuries resulting from corporate activities are subject to adequate criminal investigations, and, where appropriate, prosecution and effective sanctions. It's charitable activities are funded by Joseph Rowntrees Charitable Trust.

    The Centre runs a Work Related Death Advice Service

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Page last updated on November 22, 2003