Corporate Manslaughter – Could Your Business Be Found Guilty?

Corporate Manslaughter   Up to one third of all road accidents involve at least one person who is at work at the time.  Now the Government is planning to reduce these figures with tough new laws.  As a result, an employer could face a prison sentence for an accident involving an employee.  

What is Corporate Manslaughter?

The Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007 which came into force in April 2008.  An offence called corporate killing will allow road fatalities to be viewed as a crime.  This means, in the final extreme, that your company may be held ‘vicariously liable’ for a death due to management failure.  In other words you could be prosecuted if your company was shown to have failed to operate adequate Health and Safety controls.  At present, around 20 people a week are killed on the roads.  By introducing these measures it is hoped that these numbers will be reduced significantly. So for the safety of all concerned, its worth taking steps now to protect yourself and your employees.

Your Responsibilities

Make sure that one of your staff is named as having specific H&S responsibilities.  These include checking policies to make sure that work related road safety is adequately covered and if necessary, having risk assessments if you are not sure. It is up to you to make sure that any company cars and private cars used on company business are legal and roadworthy.  A system should be in place that ensures: – All cars are regularly services and maintained and are matched to the needs of the job. – Drivers are required to carry out regular safety checks. – Every driver is properly trained and medically fit. – Drivers hold the right license for the vehicle they are driving. – Licences are checked for endorsements. – All cars are fitted with hands free phones as standard where necessary. Health and Safety legislation also says that anyone driving on business should have rest breaks at two hourly intervals and a stay over policy to avoid a long drive home after a late meeting.

Alerting Your Employees

Employees need to be made responsible for regular checking basics like oil, water, tyre pressure, etc.  They must also make sure that their personal car insurance covers them for business trips if necessary. In most cases these precautions are already in place but it is worth checking regular just to make sure. Find out more information by clicking on Road Safety at www.dft.gov.uk For more information on Corporate Manslaughter go to www.homeoffice.gov.uk and search Corporate Manslaughter.

If you wish to discuss your insurance arrangements or your have any queries regarding your business and corporate manslaughter contact us on 01707 883377 or email us on info@bromwall.com

 

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