The Health and Safety (Offences) Act 2008, which came hot on the heels of the Corporate Manslaughter and Homicide Act 2007, acted as a stark reminder for many companies to focus once again on Health and Safety. It is important to remember that work-related road incidents account for more than 1,000 fatalities each year making it the single largest cause of occupational fatalities in the UK.
In crude terms, the Corporate Manslaughter Act seeks to remind us by threatening the organisation with large financial penalties; the Sentencing Council (SGC) stated that the law should expect the same standard of behaviour regardless of company size. “Smallness does not by itself mitigate and largeness does not by itself aggravate these offences”.
The Health and Safety (Offences) Act takes a different approach, as it targets individuals rather than organisations and is part of a growing legislative trend that can make individuals inside an organisation more accountable.
The Council will be reporting the results of their consultation shortly. However key questions arise: Will the spectre of a fine that could break many companies motivate a Board to take action? Or will it be the fear of time behind bars that will encourage people at all levels in the organisation to make changes and push their companies to act? Time will only tell which of the two threats is the more effective.
Telematics is increasingly being used across businesses to administer risk-management – our blog will be updated over coming weeks with the Sentencing Councils recommendations, links to relevant legislation and best practices, as well as examples of telematics technology in action…
Author: John Wisdom, Sales and Marketing Director, Cybit.