[ClickPress, Fri Feb 11 2005] On the 12th January a union-backed campaign for tougher laws to prevent workplace death and injury practices has seen its first parliamentary reading. The proposed ‘Director Duties’ Bill will hold company directors accountable for negligent health and safety practices.
The CIOB lends its full support to the aims of the Bill and sees it as the perfect foil to the corporate manslaughter legislation proposals. Under the Bill, companies would face not just fines but the prospect of custodial sentences for directors where serious health and safety breaches or negligence has resulted in fatality.
Saleem Akram CIOB Director of Professional & Technical Development said, ‘The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has reported that as many as 70% of workplace fatalities are the result of management failures. It is essential for the construction industry to constantly strive to improve our health and safety standards and processes. To reduce our current rates of fatal and major injuries further we need directors not only to be responsible but accountable. This Bill will give a sharp wake up call to those offenders in the industry who continue to put a price on life and limb.’
Stephen Hepburn MP who is sponsoring the Bill said: 'There currently exists a state of ‘legalised ignorance’ for directors when it comes to health and safety. This is unacceptable. Directors are people of tremendous power and with that power ought to come a responsibility to safeguard the health of their workforce and the public.'
The second parliamentary reading of the Bill is set to take place on March 4th.