The Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007 (Act) was composed and put into force to prevent health and safety violations resulting from management failures.
However, due to the structure of the original sentencing guidelines and proposed fines, the Act has been largely ineffective in persuading organisations to adopt more stringent health and safety practices.
To more effectively hold organisations accountable for their actions and the quality of their health and safety practices, the Sentencing Council has proposed new guidelines for the Act. These guidelines introduce more stringent penalties that would range from £450,000 to £20 million, depending on the organisation’s turnover. The higher proposed fines are intended to have a potentially substantial economic impact on the organisation in order to iterate the importance of providing a safe working environment for employees.
The new proposed guidelines may come into force as early as next month, but it is more likely that they will be introduced sometime in early 2016. Although the new guidelines are not yet in effect, it would be prudent to begin scrutinising your organisation’s health and safety management programme now in an effort to lessen your corporate manslaughter liability.