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Publicity orders could force H&S compliance

Over two fifths of businesses fear bad publicity almost as much as they do being fined 10 per cent of their income.


That was one of the key findings to emerge from a survey by legal firm the Norton Rose Group on the impact of being prosecuted under the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007 (CMA), which came into force on April 6.


Out of 90 multinational organisation’s polled, 42 per cent said the publicity orders, whereby a company is forced to advertise the facts surroundings its conviction, was the sanction most likely to have an impact on corporate behaviour.


This was because of the adverse impact the publicity could have on its share price and its future ability to attract future investment, the respondents said.


A further 45 per cent said a 10 per cent fine could encourage them to take their health and safety responsibilities more seriously since such a hefty financial sanction might lead to staff redundancies and price rises in their products and services.


Companies can be prosecuted under the CMA if they manage their activities in such a way as to cause a person’s death, and these activities amounts to a gross breach of a relevant duty of care owed by the organisation to the deceased.


Businesses found to be in breach of the Act can expect to be fined up to a maximum of 10 per cent of their income; issued with a publicity order; and/or issued with a remedial measures order.