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HSE moves to prosecute earlier

Work related deaths will be prosecuted much more quickly following a new agreement between health and safety organisations.

CN reported in January that potential changes to the Word-Related Deaths Protocol could allow investigating bodies including the Health and Safety Executive to seek prosecution much more quickly than they could previously.

The new agreement will now come into force on 1 October.

At present the HSE and other signatories to the work-related death protocol can only seek prosecution for work-related deaths once the police and Crown Prosecution Service have decided not to press for manslaughter charges, and an inquest has been held.

The new rules will allow prosecution before Inquest where manslaughter or homicide charges are not relevant – if it is considered appropriate and in the interest of justice.

Work-Related Deaths National Liaison Committee chairman Richard Daniels said:  “All signatories are committed to seeking justice for bereaved family members, when a work-related death has occurred and someone should be held to account. The change will help us deliver this justice more effectively and sooner in less complex cases.

“The NLC has worked closely with the Coroners’ Society to agree the changes and they support this swifter resolution of prosecutions in some cases. We also welcome the Maritime and Coastguard Agency and the Chief Fire Officers’ Association as formal signatories of the revised protocol.”

The change is not mandatory and it is up to each signatory organisation to decide how they will implement it.

Members of the NLC include:

  • Association of Chief Police Officers  
  • British Transport Police  
  • Chief Fire Officers Association  
  • Crown  Prosecution Service  
  • Health and Safety Executive
  • Local Authorities  
  • Maritime and Coastguard Agency  
  • Office of Rail Regulation

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