Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act
Companies not taking care to ensure the safety of workers face the possibility of an unlimited fine and a remedial order to correct any substandard systems or processes that led to a breach. Perhaps more worrying for companies that take care to manage their brand perception, prosecution under corporate manslaughter regulations could result in a publicity order compelling them to release details of the incident and subsequent punishment to the media.
One area of risk that affects all companies relates to their employees driving on company business, whether that is in a company vehicle or in their own private cars. Companies should consider implementing a driver handbook or as a formal safety policy as part of the employee handbook providing key guidelines. They also need to regularly check vehicles are roadworthy and well maintained.
Legislation was introduced in 2003 related to the use of mobile phones whilst driving and strengthened last year, however, many companies do not have a formal policy in place which prohibits the use of mobile phones when driving nor do they issue a hands-free kit. If you do not have such policies, you should consider implementing them urgently and to provide evidence that you are taking your duty of care seriously, photocopies of driving licences and documents relating to tax and insurance should be kept on file and regularly checked for legality.
With the rising number of speed cameras on the road many drivers are incurring points which eventually could cause them to lose their licence. If you do not check the endorsement section of the licence regularly these could be missed and the employee could be driving illegally. All accidents should also be fully investigated and use of your disciplinary policy should be considered.
Posted on 19 Nov 2016