Number of Corporate Manslaughter convictions continues to steadily rise

The Act allows organisations which cause death by inadequate health and safety management - yet have with complex management structures-  to be held to account. 

As expected, the rate of cases brought under the Act were relatively slow with the first case, Cotswold Geotechnical Holdings, involving a death in 2008, resulting in a conviction following trial in 2011. Two more companies, JMW Farms and Lion Steel, were convicted in 2012 with two more, J Murray & Sons and Prince’s Sporting Club, in 2013 (the latter of which was the first use of the publicity order). However, this year there number of cases reaching court have greatly increased.

"...companies should keep their health and safety training, policies and management arrangements continually under review to ensure that the highest standards continue to be met..."

Mike Taylor, Technical Director - Health, Safety and Environmental Santia

In February, Mobile Sweepers (Reading) Ltd was fined £8,000 plus costs of £4,000; the sole director was also fined £183,000 plus costs of £8,000 and was disqualified as a director for 5 years.

In April, while PS & JE Ward Ltd were found not guilty of corporate manslaughter, they were ordered to pay almost £100,000 in fines and costs for failing to ensure the safety of the worker.

In May, Cavendish Masonry Limited was found guilty and, in November, were fined £150,000 plus costs of £87,000.

In November, Sterecycle (Rotherham) Ltd, was fined £500,000.

Additionally, the trials of A. Diamond and Son, Pyranha Mouldings Ltd and Baldwins Crane Hire have either recently commenced or are awaiting a court date.

The Sentencing Council has recently launched a consultation on proposed sentencing guidelines for corporate manslaughter which, if adopted, will tie the level of fines to corporate turnover and will likely result in very significant increases, particularly for the more serious cases and those involving large organisations. The consultation will last until 18 February 2015.

“While the Act did not introduce any new duties or obligations, it is specifically linked to the effectiveness of an organisations existing health and safety management arrangements; therefore, companies that take their obligations under health and safety law seriously are not likely to be in breach of the Act. Nonetheless, companies should keep their health and safety training, policies and management arrangements continually under review to ensure that the highest standards continue to be met.” Mike Taylor, Technical Director - Health, Safety and Environmental at Santia commented.  

With erisk, Santia’s online health and safety management system, the full range of disciplines relating to health and safety, including fire safety through to the management of asbestos, environmental control and occupational health are clearly presented on one screen. Further details can be found here.

Santia also provides health, safety and environmental training in the UK and internationally. Further details can be found here.

Post date: 04 Dec 2014

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