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Corporate manslaughter offenders unaware their guilt may have to be made public

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More than half of employers are unaware they could face the prospect of publicising their guilt if they fall foul of the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act.

A report from the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health found 57% of employers do not know they could be subject to a publicity order following a fatal accident at work - even though it could have an impact on future business.

When asked, 59% of businesses surveyed said a fine to the value of 10% of turnover would be a greater threat to the business, if found guilty of corporate manslaughter.

The findings come only weeks after Cotswold Geotechnical Holdings became the first company to be charged under the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act, when a geologist at the firm was killed when the pit he was examining collapsed.

Graham Jukes, chief executive at the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health, said: "This research highlights the lack of awareness in most businesses of the effect that an accident at work may have on a firm's ability to trade in the future. The Health and Safety Executive has just published its new strategy and business awareness of its responsibilities towards ensuring effective health and safety provision is at its heart.

"Business leaders must act proportionately but if they fail to properly resource health and safety, and something goes wrong, then it will not just be the victim that suffers but the business as a whole through the link to the Corporate Manslaughter and Homicide Act."  

"The Act, the new strategy and indeed our research have a clear message: directors and individuals with managerial responsibility need to ensure that health and safety risks are properly managed and resourced in the organisations they run and that adequate health and safety procedures are maintained."