According to legal watchdog the Sentencing Council, companies who are found guilty of corporate manslaughter should face fines of up to £20m.
I think it's absolutely right that the Sentencing Council member, Michael Caplan QC, set out that there has to be a consistent approach to corporate manslaughter sentencing which allows for fair and proportionate sentences across the board with the more serious offenders facing much tougher penalties than those which are currently in place.
Although I welcome the public consultation which is to run until February 2015, I would urge the Sentencing Council to look at not only the views of those working in industry, the Criminal Justice System or regulatory enforcement, but also to those who are affected by the fatal accidents which occur in places of work, particularly in regard to the family, friends and work colleagues of those people who sadly lost their lives in an accident at work.
Punishments for corporate health and safety nightmares involving deaths or serious injuries caused by accidents like falling scaffolding or machinery should be substantively increased. I agree entirely that the current system where fines are very low needs to be addressed so that the actual fine is more of a deterrent that it currently is.
According to the Health and Safety Executive, 133 workers were killed in work accidents and 70 members of the public fatally injured in accidents related to the workplace last year.
Construction workers were noted as being the most at risk with 41 people dying in the last financial year; a fatality rate of 1.98 deaths per 100,000 workers.
Matthew Tomlinson is a Senior Personal Injury Solicitor at Slater and Gordon Lawyers in Sheffield specialising in work accidents and fatal accident compensation claims.
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