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Amicus slams Draft Corporate Manslaughter Bill

The new Draft Corporate Manslaughter Bill is too narrow and fails to allow for directors or senior managers to be held individually responsible for health and safety breaches, engineering union Amicus said today.
Amicus said an additional offence of ' unlawful killing' that would allow individuals to be prosecuted, with penalties ranging from fines to possible imprisonment should be implemented.

Giving evidence to a committee hearing on the Draft Corporate Manslaughter Bill yesterday, Amicus' Head of Parliamentary, Mike Griffiths, said: 'We have waited a long time for legislation that will give greater protection to UK workers, but all the evidence shows that unless senior individuals in organisations are held personally liable for health and safety failures, standards will not improve.

'The government committed to changes before the last election at Warwick

and we will campaign to insist that these provisions are included in the bill.'

As well as possible imprisonment, Amicus is campaigning for much larger fines to be imposed and the removal of Crown Immunity which protects certain public bodies from prosecution for health and safety lapses.

Weakness in existing legislation has led to charges being dropped against directors over the Hatfield and Paddington rail disasters. Amicus want a range of other penalties including personal fines, suspension or disqualification of directors, retraining or remedial training orders, and community health and safety service orders against directors or senior managers.

A report commissioned by Amicus from the Centre for Corporate Accountability showed that inspection and investigation backed by legislation was the most effective way to guarantee safety at work. There was overwhelming evidence that the threat of legal action was the key driver for companies to improve their health and safety standards.

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