Corporate Manslaughter now a reality|
The Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007 comes into force on April 6th 2008. This is the same date that the full force of CDM 2007 hits the construction industry with respect to competence.
The Act can be used at the same time as the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 for the same incident and both have the potential for unlimited fines. What is more likely to disrupt business is the effect of the investigation which may last for months and years with huge disruption to business and impact on reputation.
Government advisors have said that they expect only about 10 cases per annum to come to court but others who have been close to the developing law anticipate that this is figure is on the low side.
Small businesses are told they are less likely to be targeted but there is another school of thought that says they will be selected as soft targets for enforcers. They and their senior managers can already be prosecuted under existing manslaughter legislation. Large corporations are, however, the key focus for the changes and it is they who need to review their behaviour and performance.
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