Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Company killers fined less than 1/700th of turnover

I received today a persuasive email alert from the Centre for Corporate Accountability (CCA). At the moment the Government Sentencing Advisory Panel (SAP) is drafting guidance for Courts on what sentence they should give companies convicted of work “death related” and manslaughter offences.

The CCA research show that most fines against companies convicted of offenses following work related deaths are less than 1/700th of turnover.

If individuals earning an average annual income of £24,769 were sentenced at this level, they would be fined just £35.

The research also shows that the fines imposed on most of these companies was only 1% of their gross profits”.

The CCA quite rightly urge the SAP to ensure that Courts “fine companies convicted of 'death-related' health and safety offences between 2.5 and 10% of the company's turnover and for the new corporate manslaughter offence of between 15 and 40% of the company's turnover".

Company directors should in my view face jail if convicted of such offences. However, this is not happening for the foreseeable future. So to make sure these laws bite, the penalty must meet the crime, not for revenge but to punish and deter. The present penalties are clearly inadequate and must be raised significantly.

Tell the CBI and those who oppose large fines that unless the legislation works, then the demand for jail terms will return.

This of course a suitable topic only a few weeks before Workers Memorial Day – Monday 28 April 2008.

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