Socialist Worker

Corporate manslaughter: another toothless act

Issue No. 2096

In the first three quarters of last year, 210 workers died at work according to the Health and Safety Executive. In the previous year 241 workers were killed while doing their job.

Since the Health and Safety at Work Act was introduced in 1974, over 10,000 people have been killed in work-related accidents. Only five bosses have ever been imprisoned.

The Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act, which came into force this week, is supposed to address these shocking facts.

But the new act will make it harder to get a conviction and mean even fewer bosses will go to jail for killing workers. It allows the prosecution of firms but not individual bosses and will impose fines instead of jail sentences.

The act was a key element of the 2004 Warwick agreement between Labour and the unions. Just like the rest of Labour's promises to the unions, it has proved empty.

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What We Think
Tue 8 Apr 2008, 19:57 BST
Issue No. 2096
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