In 2008 Farleys Solicitors presented a seminar on the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007. The Act introduced a new criminal offence in which an organisation as a whole can be found guilty if the way in which its activities are managed or organised causes a death, and amounts to a gross breach of a relevant duty of care to the deceased.
Cotswold Geotechnical Holdings has become the first company in the UK to be charged with the new offence of corporate manslaughter, following the death of a junior geologist after a trench in which he was working collapsed while he was taking soil samples in stormy conditions.
If found guilty the firm could face an unlimited fine. Peter Eaton, a director of the company, has also been charged with gross negligence manslaughter and faces life imprisonment if convicted.
Many other work-related fatalities are currently under investigation and Andrew Church-Taylor, a partner at Farleys Solicitors LLP, expects many more prosecutions to follow. Andrew Church-Taylor comments,
“The new offence was brought in to make it easier to bring organisations to justice over the death of employees. Managers must ensure that their organisations are properly managing health and safety at all levels, and that all applicable legislation and guidance is adhered to.”
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