Corporate manslaughter guidance results in bigger risks to reputation

posted by Peter Roberts

The Sentencing Guidelines Council has just announced that companies convicted of corporate manslaughter will face fines upwards of £500,000.

The fines will apply to all companies found guilty in the courts from this week, even if the actual incident happened some years ago. You can read more here.
 
The guidelines recommend fines from £100,000 up to hundreds of thousands of pounds be imposed for offences that cause death.

The move clearly means additional scrutiny of corporate health and safety practices and for individual directors, managers and other employees there is the threat of up two years in prison.

If such penalties are to be avoided, the safety culture within the place of work, quite fundamentally, needs to be deemed as critical as any another aspect of the business. This will be a gargantuan communications task for many organisations, who have not only tended to marginalise this part of the operation, but are often composed of a mixed workforce including contractors and joint venture partners, which makes the process harder.
 
Naturally, organisations can help themselves pre-empt such scenarios and a critical first step is to identify the threats – both inside and outside the business – a company faces. This formal risk audit is something we spend a lot of our time doing at Hill & Knowlton. Corporate threats take on different forms pending on the organisation, from waste disposal practices, to haulage policies; pressure groups to flooding.
 
For help in reviewing any threats that your organisation may face, please get in touch with us by clicking here.

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2 Comments
18

Feb
2010

uberVU - social comments

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This post was mentioned on Twitter by HK_London: #HK_crisisUK Peter Roberts on new Corporate Manslaughter Guidance impact on corporate reputation http://bit.ly/b3YO0W...

18

Feb
2010

Grant Smith

It’s probably a fair bet as well that if companies start getting slapped with half-a-million-pound fines, the headlines will start writing themselves…maybe the negative press coverage will be just as much of an incentive as the fine to improve workplace safety.

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