Fleet News

Corporate Manslaughter Act may lead to contract review

Fleet managers may need to have their contracts rewritten before the Corporate Manslaughter Act comes into force next year.

Solicitor Fiona Hahlo, from Reynolds Porter Chamberlain LLP, advised companies that there is now a need to review their fleet managers’ terms of employment to ensure all managers are aware of their responsibilities.

“Fleet managers need to know what’s expected of them.

“Review all managers’ contracts so that you know who’s dealing with all the different aspects of health and safety,” she said at a recent Fleet Risk Forum.

Ms Hahlo stressed the need for internal communication, as duty of care can come under the remit of HR, fleet or even finance departments in some companies.

She said every member of staff will need to know what their responsibilities are before the new Corporate Manslaughter Act comes into force in April 2008.

Meanwhile, businesses have been warned they face fines of up to 10% of their annual turnover if convicted of corporate manslaughter.

The proposal comes from the Sentencing Advisory Panel (SAP), which recommends that fines for corporate killing should range from 2.5% to 10% of annual turnover.

“The imposition of significant fines would reflect the serious concerns resulting from the unnecessary loss of life involved in corporate manslaughter,” said the SAP.

“The prospect of large fines should also encourage compliance with health and safety regulations.”

The panel also says that the courts can impose a publicity order – a new sanction that is designed to bring the failings of the offending organisation to the attention of the public.

SAP proposes that, in principle, courts should impose a publicity order on every organisation convicted of the offence.

A range of options has been suggested, including placing adverts in newspapers and trade journals or on television or radio, as well as ordering letters be sent to shareholders and customers informing them of the conviction.

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