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Annie Hayes

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Manslaughter rules ‘to cost firms £21m’

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The UK’s new corporate manslaughter law could cost businesses more than £21m in legal bills, an insurer has claimed.

Tips to prepare your business

  • Review existing health and safety policies to ensure they are up to date and robust. The Health and Safety Executive can help.

  • Be aware of the finer details of the Corporate Manslaughter Act and fully understand its implications for your business. Visit the Office of Public Sector Information.

  • All employees need to be aware of the rules, so use the coming months to highlight its introduction. Appoint an individual who can respond to any staff questions.

  • In the event of a fatal workplace accident, it’s critical that you have appropriate insurance. Seek expert help if you’re unsure.
  • Hiscox called on firms to review their existing risk management procedures ahead of the legislation which comes into force on 6 April.

    After a 10-year battle between campaigners and regulators, executives will be held responsible when corporate negligence results in death at work. Under the rules, companies face a criminal conviction and unlimited fines following fatal accidents if there has been gross failure by senior managers.

    Hiscox said not only do the rules increase the pressure on company bosses but businesses also need to assess whether they are covered financially for the worst-case scenario.

    According to recent research, more than 50 per cent of employers are not prepared for the introduction of the new law, while a third of small to medium-sized businesses are concerned that their business could become a victim of the UK’s growing compensation culture.

    Callum Taylor, management liability underwriting manager at Hiscox said: “With less than 100 days to go until the Corporate Manslaughter Act comes into force, companies could face prosecution for breach of their duty in areas they have not previously considered.

    “As well as having to cope with expensive legal bills, companies facing legal action under the new Act risk their reputation being damaged, and the day to day running of their business being disrupted.

    “We don’t yet know how often or how rigorously judges will implement this law, but one thing very clear is that the Act is going to be another worry to add to the many already faced by businesses.”

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    Annie Hayes

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    Read more from Annie Hayes
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