Letter: Jail employers for workplace deaths

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Sir: The Law Commission proposal to create a new offence of "corporate killing" ("Demand to get tough on firms that kill", 6 March) will do very little to prevent the 400 deaths a year in British workplaces.

The penalties suggested - unlimited fines and remedial action - already exist under the 1974 Health and Safety at Work Act. All the Law Commission is proposing is a new name, and a potentially more complicated procedure. The examples they cite - Piper Alpha, King's Cross and the Herald of Free Enterprise - were not at the time covered by the 1974 Act (which has halved fatalities in British workplaces). Cross-channel ferries still are not.

The TUC believes that further progress will only be achieved with an effective deterrent. The prospect of a jail sentence would convince negligent employers of the seriousness of their crimes.

John Monks

General Secretary


Congress House

London WC1