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Call for Corporate Manslaughter legislation as worker dies on International Workers Memorial Day

28 April, 2008

Speaking on International Workers' Memorial Day, Sinn Féin spokesperson on Employment and Workers' Rights, Arthur Morgan TD has demanded that the Government introduce legislation to deal with Corporate Manslaughter. Morgan made his call as reports came in of a worker's death in a chemical plant in Cork following an explosion.

Workers' Memorial Day is an international day to highlight the issue of workplace deaths and accidents.

Deputy Morgan said, "The tragic and unnecessary deaths of workers still frequent our news headlines despite the many calls to the government to introduce legislation hold employers accountable for carelessness with workers' safety.

"For too long irresponsible employers have got off with small fines when they have been at fault for the death of a worker.

"Today a man died after an explosion at a chemical plant in Co Cork. Another man received critical injuries, while a third is in a stable condition in hospital. The Health and Safety Authority confirmed that it issued two notices to the company restricting production in specific areas of the plant following two explosions there at the beginning of March. The man's death may have been accidental, but incidents like this should not be happening in our workforce.

"On this Workers Memorial Day I am reiterating Sinn Féin's call on the Government to deliver on the Union motto of 'Remember the Dead - Fight for the Living' by publishing legislation on Corporate Manslaughter. Reckless employers must be held criminally liable for workplace accidents and fatalities.

"Only by putting in place effective deterrents can we ensure that these needless deaths cease. Corporate Manslaughter legislation, already in place in many countries, is a key tool in the battle to reduce workplace accidents and fatalities.

"The Health and Safety Authority must also be given the resources necessary to ensure full compliance of employers with existing health and safety law." ENDS

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