Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Sinn Féin share concerns about weak worker protection

2 November, 2005


Sinn Féin Fermanagh South Tyrone MP Michelle Gildernew has said that Safety at work the drafting of the new corporate manslaughter bill fails to allow for directors or senior managers to be held individually responsible for health and safety breaches.

Ms Gildernew said:

"Sinn Féin share the concerns of many trade unionists that the drafting of the new corporate manslaughter legislation fails to allow for directors or senior managers to be held individually responsible for health and safety breaches.

"An additional offence of 'unlawful killing' that would allow individuals to be prosecuted, with penalties ranging from fines to possible imprisonment would ensure that there is a clear message about responsibility for health and safety. We also need see much larger fines and the removal of Crown Immunity, which protect some public bodies from prosecution.

"Weakness in existing legislation has led to charges being dropped in a number of cases including the Paddington rail disaster. Unless senior individuals in organisations are held personally liable for health and safety failures, standards will not improve. Trade unions are also seeking a range of other measures including personal fines, suspension or disqualification of directors, retraining or remedial training orders, and community health and safety service orders against directors or senior managers.

"A report from the Centre for Corporate Accountability also shows that inspection and investigation backed by strong legislation is the most effective way to guarantee safety at work. There is overwhelming evidence that the threat of legal action is the key driver for companies to improve their health and safety standards." ENDS

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