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Research & Briefings
Summary of CCA Written Evidence to the Select Committee on Environment Transport and the Regions

The HSE's "enforcement" philosophy, policy and practice is highly inadequate and leads to thousands of companies and directors escaping prosecution for crimes involving serious injury and death.. This high level of corporate impunity has a number of very serious implications.
  • it brings into question the integrity of the criminal justice system built upon principles of due process and equality before the law;
  • it fails to respond to the needs of families and victims - considered legitimate in relation to other offences - for moral justice and accountability;
  • it fails to establish a system of deterrence in which companies are deterred from placing the lives of workers at risk.
HSE's policies are grounded in the flawed conclusions of the Robens Report which has allowed the HSE, consistently and explicitly, to place its work outside a criminal justice context.

Our strongest criticisms are directed at the HSE's failure (between 1996-8)
  • to ensure that more than 60% of major injuries are reported to the HSE
  • to investigate more than 11.2% of major injuries to workers;
  • to prosecute more than 11.4% of major injuries and 18.8% of deaths;
  • to prosecute a single director or manager after any workplace death or major injury;
  • to prosecute more than 28% of death cases in the Crown courts;
  • to consider the possible commission of GBH offences after a major injury;
  • to have a consistent investigation/prosecution policy between regions/industries;
  • to refer more than 1.2% of deaths to the police where they consider the possible commission of corporate manslaughter to the police;
The HSE needs to separate, organisationally, its preventative inspection work from its injury/death investigations. It needs to have a different enforcement philosophy for each - one which emphasises the importance of criminal justice concerns to its investigation of major injuries/deaths. The HSE's criminal justice work needs to have a large financial imput to stop the current high level of corporate immunity

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Home -> Research & Briefings -> Government and Regulatory Bodies -> The Health and Safety Executive -> 1999 Select Committee Inquiry into the Work of the Health and Safety Executive -> CCA's Evidence to the Select Committee - Written Submission to the Committee
Page last updated on June 9, 2003