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Increase in work place deaths highlights need for Corporate Manslaughter Legislation – Morgan

24 June, 2008

Sinn Féin Workers' Rights Spokesperson Arthur Morgan TD has said the report published today by the Health and Safety Authority which shows an increase in work place deaths highlights the need to legislate for corporate manslaughter.

Deputy Morgan also said the report shows that safety in the workplace remains a secondary priority to profit making for many employers.

He said, "The report from the Health and Safety Authority today shows that work place deaths rose by almost a third to 67 in 2007. At 31 deaths in the work place so far this year we could be well on the way to replicating that figure for 2008.

"The report also highlights that 30% of employers do not even have a safety statement as required under the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005. This shows that for many employers safety at work remains a secondary priority to profit making. This needs to change and it is well past time that rogue employers are put under pressure to live up to their health and safety obligations.

"For too long employers have been let off the hook with fines for breaches of safety regulations even when a workers life has been lost as a result of negligence. The increase in work place deaths, reported today, highlights the need for the introduction of corporate manslaughter legislation. This would put a significant incentive on employers to take heed of safety regulations by applying criminal charges against those who do not.

"On behalf of Sinn Féin I published the Corporate Manslaughter Bill 2007 last May and called on the Government to allow time for its enactment. I am repeating that call again today in light of the HSA report. This type of legislation, which is already in place in many countries, is a key tool in the battle to reduce workplace accidents and fatalities." ENDS

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