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    CORPORATE MANSLAUGHTER UPDATE

    Investigations put directors and managers under the spotlight 

    The Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide (CMCH) came into force in April 2008. Since that time we are aware of over 30 deaths in the construction industry that will now be under investigation by the Police and/or HSE. In many cases, offences under CMCH will be ruled-out rapidly and the investigation will become the sole jurisdiction of HSE. For example, where the deceased is the only dutyholder or where there is overwhelming evidence that the incident is the result of unforeseeable action by the deceased. 

    A proportion of the deaths since April 2008 have occurred on larger projects involving major clients and contractors. Deaths on such projects will be the most challenging for both investigators and those working in the investigated organisations. Informal feedback on live CMCH investigations suggests:

    • managers are being arrested at work as part of the investigations;
    • investigations are being conducted in an extremely rigorous manner;
    • site staff are being considered as part of ‘senior management';
    • police investigators are being supported effectively with HSE expertise;
    • significant time is being spent within investigated organisations and;
    • police are treating the CMCH offence as one step down from murder.

    Comment: Rigorous, lengthy and wide ranging investigations were always likely to result from the introduction of CMCH and directors and managers can do very little to change this process. It is therefore vital that directors and managers focus upon matters that can be influenced including:

    1. Reviewing how your organisation measures up to the practical CMCH Guidance for directors and;
    2. Revitalising your existing health and safety management system to increase the likelihood that what should be done is being done throughout your organisation. 

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