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Britain: First Engineering fined £200k after sleeper horror
Rail maintenance company First Engineering Ltd has been fined £200,000 at Glasgow Sheriff Court following the death of an employee nearly two years ago.
Risks 178, 16 October 2004

Britain: "Ongoing failures" led to Chunnel death
"Basic and simple precautions" could have saved the life of a construction worker, a court has heard. Instead, three construction companies have been prosecuted and fined a total of £100,000 after pleading guilty to breaches of health and safety legislation.
Risks 177, 9 October 2004

Britain: Government "nobbled" on death penalties
The death of Michael Mungovan has highlighted the inadequacy of UK law to reflect the seriousness of workplace safety crimes. Guardian columnist George Monbiot says a promised law to make directors responsible has been "nobbled" by employers' organisations.
Risks 177, 9 October 2004

Britain: Six figure fines on rail death firms
Two companies have been fined on charges relating to a workplace death that was ruled to be "unlawful killing" at an earlier inquest. The six figure fines imposed on rail maintenance company Balfour Beatty and the McGinley Recruitment Services agency, the companies responsible for a 22-year-old casual rail worker Michael Mungovan's death, have once again raised questions about the adequacy of UK law to match the punishment to the crime.
Risks 177, 9 October 2004

Britain: Rail workers killed after being hit by repair truck
Two rail workers were killed this week when they were hit by a repair truck at a project involving three firms under contract to Network Rail. The accident happened days after latest Health and Safety Executive figures revealed a 50 per upturn in track deaths.
Risks 176, 2 October 2004

Britain
HSE upbeat on rail safety as nine workers die
The Health and Safety Executive's annual rail safety report has put a positive spin on Britain's rail safety record. The report's assessment came despite a 50 per cent increase in the number of rail employees killed at work.
Risks 175, 25 September 2004

Britain
HSE strategy shift threatens lives says Amicus
A sea change in strategy by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) will reduce the number and frequency of workplace inspections, is reckless and will endanger lives, says the union Amicus.
Risks 174, 18 September 2004

Turkey
Nineteen die in mine fire
At least 19 workers died and 17 were injured in a fire at a copper mine in north-western Turkey. Reports say that serious questions will be asked about the incident as at first it seemed many more of the men would be saved.
Risks 173, 11 September 2004

South Africa
Lax safety standards blamed for deadly chemical blast
Unions are demanding answers after a blast ripped through the Sasol ethylene plant in Secunda, South Africa. So far, the company has refused to say whether it will allow unions to participate in an investigation into the tragedy, which killed seven and injured over 100 workers.
Risks 173, 11 September 2004

Britain
Port operator fined £250,000 over trainee's death
Felixstowe Dock and Railway Company, the operator of the UK's largest container port, has been fined £250,000 after a trainee dockworker plunged nearly 120ft to his death from a crane.
Risks 173, 11 September 2004

Britain
More delays to corporate killing law
The government has insisted it will press ahead with plans for new corporate killing laws, but conceded there will be further delays.
Risks 173, 11 September 2004

Britain
UK fails to learn occupational health lessons
The UK safety watchdog has ditched crucial occupational health functions despite its own evidence showing it is failing to meet its targets to reduce occupational ill-health. A new report in the International Journal of Occupational Safety and Health (IJOEH) warns that moves by the Health and Safety Commission, including a decision to axe the post of HSE medical director, “broke the link with the periodically radical and innovative work of occupational physicians dating back to Sir Thomas Legge in 1898.”
Risks 172, 4 September 2004

Japan
Nuke plant head apologises for fatal accident
The boss of a Japanese nuclear power company has been ordered to apologise for an accident that killed five workers.
Risks 172, 4 September 2004

Britain
Death charges dropped against Railtrack
Charges of manslaughter against the now defunct Railtrack and one of its senior managers over the Hatfield disaster have been dropped. In June this year, Railtrack paid out £1 million to the widow of Hatfield victim Stephen Arthur, after admitting liability for the crash.
Risks 172, 4 September 2004

China
Bosses buried miner to conceal accident
Bosses at a private coal mine in China have been detained by police for concealing a fatal mining accident on 7 July. In a bid to conceal the accident, bosses asked a miner to bury the body and agreed to pay him a “hiding fee.”
Risks 172, 4 September 2004

USA
Steel union questions accident surge
So far twice as many members of US steelworkers’ union USWA have died this year as in all of last year – and the union suspects radical changes in the industry during a recent downturn may have made mills more dangerous places to work. Now that demand for steel has increased sharply and the industry has a chance to make money, steelmakers have to produce more with fewer workers and many workers are performing jobs that are new to them.
Risks 172, 4 September 2004

Australia
Mining giant BHP makes a killing
A record profit for the world's largest mining company has come at the cost of 17 workers' lives, says a union group. BHP Billiton made a profit of $3.38 billion for the last financial year.
Risks 171, 28 August 2004

Britain
Manslaughter charges follow workplace deaths
Two bosses are facing manslaughter charges after workers were killed in separate incidents in February this year.
Risks 171, 28 August 2004

India
Bhopal victims continue compensation fight
Thousands of compensation claims relating to one of the world's biggest industrial disasters, at the Union Carbide factory in Bhopal in 1984, are being taken to India's Supreme Court.
Risks 170, 21 August 2004

USA
Safety a casualty of Bush deregulation fetish
Workplace safety has been a major victim of the US government's business friendly policies. The Bush administration has always favoured a retreat from regulation and enforcement, but new reports in the Washington Post and New York Times suggest this preoccupation has been especially evident in the area of workplace health and safety.
Risks 170, 21 August 2004

USA
Guilty Disney pays $6,300 for a life
Walt Disney Entertainment has been fined $6,300 (£3,455) for the death of a Florida worker dressed as Pluto who was run over and killed by a float as it entered the Magic Kingdom parade.
Risks 170, 21 August 2004

Australia
Mine deaths prove the case for work deaths law
An Australian union is seeking a new industrial manslaughter law after an inquiry found a company and its bosses were responsible for a deadly 1996 mine disaster. CFMEU union president Tony Maher said: "For far too long companies and management have literally gotten away with murder."
Risks 170, 21 August 2004

Britain
BT to be prosecuted over engineer's death

British Telecom is to be prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) over the death of CWU member Tara Whelan. The BT engineer was killed at work in May 2001.
Risks 170, 21 August 2004

USA
How to get fewer accidents? Don't count them
A subsidiary of Weyerhaeuser, a company that is one of the US government's flagships for the "voluntary protection programmes (VPP)" introduced as a business-friendly alternative to official safety enforcement, has been found to have fiddled its accident reports.
Risks 169, 14 August 2004

USA
Judge orders safety watchdog to name worst firms
A US federal judge has ordered the government's national health and safety watchdog to disclose for the first time the company names and the worker injury and illness rates of the American workplaces with the worst safety records.
Risks 168, 7 August 2004

Britain
Court bans two directors for "horrific" safety crimes
A demolition firm and two of its directors will pay out over £300,000 in fines and costs after workers were exposed to asbestos at a Birmingham factory. The directors both received bans from running a company.
Risks 168, 7 August 2004

Britain
Developer pays £100,000 following subbie's death
London-based development company Cherren III has been fined £75,000 plus costs of £25,000 at Southwark Crown Court, London, for safety offences relating to the death of heating engineer Mark Butler.
Risks 168, 7 August 2004

Australia
First test of work death law
The tragic death of a union member will provide an early test of Australia's first industrial manslaughter law.
Risks 167, 31 July 2004

Britain
Deaths law delayed because of ministers' court fears
Plans to introduce a corporate manslaughter law have been repeatedly delayed because government ministers fear they could be held personally liable for deaths.
Risks 167, 31 July 2004

Britain
Boss jailed over apprentice death
Managing director Alan Mark has been jailed for 12 months after 21-year-old apprentice Ben Pickham was killed in a boatyard explosion.
Risks 167, 31 July 2004

Britain
HSC hands-off safety plan in total disarray
Union concerns about the government's hands-off, business-friendly workplace safety plans have been vindicated after all the key points of the new Health and Safety Commission safety strategy were rubbished by a top all-party committee.
Risks 167, 31 July 2004

Britain
Unions say the government must act now
Unions say the government must act now to put Britain's faltering safety system back on track, and improve safety enforcement and introduce new rights for union safety reps.
Risks 167, 31 July 2004

Britain
TUC calls for action as work deaths rise
Rising numbers of workplace deaths are a clear indication that more resources must be put into safety enforcement, says TUC.
Risks 167, 31 July 2004

Ukraine
Gas blast kills 31 coalminers
At least 31 coalminers have been killed in a 20 July explosion in a shaft in Ukraine. The government declared a three-day period of mourning as rescuers sought five men believed to be trapped deep underground in a dangerous fog of smoke, methane gas and fire.
Risks 166, 24 July 2004

China
Major work fatalities keep rising
Industrial and road accidents killed about 64,000 people in China in the first half of this year while its mining industry remained the world's most dangerous, officials says. The government's efforts to stem runaway mining deaths, including mine closures and a clampdown on illegal mines, have so far failed to make the dramatic inroads hoped for.
Risks 166, 24 July 2004

Britain
Corporate manslaughter law slips again
The government now says the long overdue corporate manslaughter law, a manifesto promise since 1997, will not appear until late this year. Speaking in a 14 July House of Commons debate on construction safety, minister for work Jane Kennedy MP said: "the aim is to have that published towards the end of this year ­ perhaps the back end of autumn."
Risks 166, 24 July 2004

Britain
Workplace killers - best laws briefing
The lacklustre UK government proposals on corporate manslaughter - which do not include measures to bring about jail terms for dangerous employers - can now be compared to better laws elsewhere. The Centre for Corporate Accountability has prepared a web briefing laws already in operation in Canada and in Australia's capital territory.
Risks 166, 24 July 2004

Britain
Carnaud Metal Box guilty of another death
The widow of a man electrocuted at a Nottinghamshire metal working plant has won an admission from his employer that it was responsible for his death - but only after an inquest, a safety trial and a civil compensation case. In another case, the company was last month fined £17,000 for safety offences related to the deaths of two workers in a fireball.
Risks 166, 24 July 2004

DR Congo
Fatal collapse of illegal uranium mine
Part of a uranium mine has collapsed in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, killing at least nine people. The Shinkolobwe mine was officially closed earlier this year but people still mine there for cobalt, used in mobile phones.
Risks 165, 17 July 2004

Britain
Safety standards "not sufficient" as three die
Three men drowned in a slurry tank this week because not enough had been done to make the job safe.
Risks 165, 17 July 2004

Britain
Fine after worker baked to death
A laundry company has been fined £325,000 after one of its employees baked to death in a giant washing machine. Paul Clegg became trapped after he entered the machine to clear a blockage - even though there was an escape hatch that could have saved his life.
Risks 164, 11 July 2004

Britain
Three charged over cockler deaths
Three people have been charged over the deaths of 21 Chinese cocklers in Morecambe Bay, Lancashire Police have said.
Risks 163, 3 July 2004

Britain
HSE public safety policy is "unlawful"
The Health and Safety Executive's new policy on public safety - which stops HSE inspectors enforcing public safety duties upon employers in certain circumstances - is "unlawful," according to a legal opinion obtained by the Centre for Corporate Accountability.
Risks 163, 3 July 2004

Britain
Factory blast workers to receive final wages
Injured employees of ICL Plastics, whose factory was destroyed in the Maryhill explosion that claimed nine lives, will cease to have their normal wages paid after next week.
Risks 163, 3 July 2004

Britain
Anger at plan to scrap rail safety watchdog
Relatives of those who died in some of Britain's worst train crashes have criticised the government over its plans to scrap the independent regulator in charge of rail safety. The government proposal has already been condemned by the TUC.
Risks 163, 3 July 2004

Britain
Rail worker killed by train "lacked proper training"
A 21-year-old railway worker was hit and killed by a train in London because a construction company and a recruitment agency failed to train him properly, a court heard. Balfour Beatty and McGinley Recruitment Services both denied they had employed Michael Mungovan.

Risks 162, 26 June 2004

Britain
Killer chimney bosses escape with a fine
Company bosses criticised in court for a series of fatal safety blunders have escaped with fines totalling £17,000. They were originally charged with manslaughter after the fireball death of two steeplejacks, but these charges were later dropped.
Risks 162, 26 June 2004

Britain
Waste industry wastes lives
HSE says fatality rates in the waste industry are over 10 times the national average in the waste industry, which is now more dangerous than construction. HSE does not mention any plan to enforce higher standards, however, but instead says it will be "good partners" with the industry, encouraging self-regulation.
Risks 162, 26 June 2004

USA
Workers' advocates call for work deaths action
Commenting after a spate of migrant worker deaths in New York, Susan McQuade of the New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health (NYCOSH) said while the official safety enforcement agency OSHA has focused on training programmes, what was really needed was stricter enforcement and larger fines and penalties. "Without strict enforcement, there's no onus on the contractor," she said.
Risks 161, 19 June 2004

Britain
Father hits out at "joke" fine after deaths
A grieving dad has hit out after a firm was fined £15,000 over his son's death. The employer and the safety enforcement agency had both been strongly criticised in an earlier report.
Risks 160, 12 June 2004

Britain
Unions provide legal support for blast tragedy families
The Maryhill victims' families and survivors of the factory blast which killed nine workers are to be given free legal advice and support by Scotland's top union body - even though they are not union members.
Risks 160, 12 June 2004

Australia
Working for a living can kill you
For more than 2,000 Australian workers every year, something goes fatally wrong on the job - sometimes catastrophically, but more often in ways that are slow, insidious and unseen. The Australian Workers Union's Yossi Berger says the toll is more like 8,000 when you consider "all those silent occupational diseases" that might take 30 years to kill someone.
Risks 159, 5 June 2004

Britain
HSE abandons some death and injury probes
Deaths and injuries to members of the public, which until recently would have been investigated by the Health and Safety Executive, will no longer be subject to inquiry, the Centre for Corporate Accountability (CCA) has said. It adds that under the new system HSE will also no longer inspect hospitals, the police, local authorities and others to see whether they are complying with their public safety duties.
Risks 159, 5 June 2004

Britain
Corporate responsibility scheme is "not working"
The government's global framework for corporate social responsibility is not up to the job and has been "effectively ghost-written by the CBI." The criticism of the government's voluntary Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) International Strategic Framework comes in letter to ministers from CORE, a corporate responsibility coalition including charities, unions and campaign and business groups.
Risks 159, 5 June 2004

Australia
BHP under attack for deadly mine safety record
An official inquiry is investigating multinational mining giant BHP Billiton after a series of deaths and injuries to iron ore workers.
Risks 158, 29 May 2004

Australia
Support for NSW work deaths law
The state government in New South Wales (NSW) is under pressure to jail killer bosses in the wake of a Legislative Council committee recommendation that corporate manslaughter should be written into the Crimes Act. The cross party committee also wants to give courts the power to make delinquent employers face up to bereaved family members.
Risks 158, 29 May 2004

Britain

Questions raised about Glasgow blast tragedy
An investigation by a leading Scottish newspaper has raised serious concerns about the safety regime in place prior to the deadly 11 May explosion at a Glasgow plastics factory. The Sunday Herald says "a shadow also hangs over the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) which is supposed to ensure that industry doesn't endanger employees' lives."
Risks 157, 22 May 2004

Britain
Deadly site dangers prove case for killing law
A National Audit Office (NAO) report showing building workers are three times more likely to suffer a serious workplace injury and that the industry accounted for over 30 per cent of all workplace deaths in 2002-03, has led to renewed union calls for laws on corporate killing and directors' responsibilities.
Risks 157, 22 May 2004

Britain
Unions mourn blast victims and call for answers
Nine workers are known to have been killed and 40 injured, many seriously, in a devastating 11 May plastics factory blast in Glasgow. Early indications are that an industrial oven exploded at Stockline Plastics in the Maryhill area of the city.
Risks 156, 15 May 2004

Britain
HSC needs "less self-congratulation and more enforcement"
General union GMB is demanding a radical overhaul of the way health and safety regulations are enforced, and says the UK watchdog should stop telling us how good it is and should actually do some real enforcing.
Risks 156, 15 May 2004

Britain
TUC warning on dangerous talk
The TUC is warning that the new style safety-speak from the government and the Health and Safety Commission (HSC) is a dangerous development.
Risks 156, 15 May 2004

China
Workplace deaths up, accidents down
The death toll in workplace accidents throughout China is rising so far this year though accidents dropped slightly," Chinese government officials say.
Risks 155, 8 May 2004

Britain
Centre for Corporate Accountability
Papers from the Centre for Corporate Accountability's 29 April conference on corporate safety crimes are now available online.
Risks 155, 8 May 2004

Britain
The brutal reality of a death at work
Maureen O'Sullivan's father, Patrick, died on the Wembley Stadium construction site on 15 January 2004. Maureen told a 600-strong 28 April Workers' Memorial Day rally and work stoppage at the site: "How many fathers, sons, brothers must be maimed or killed before governments say enough is enough?"
Risks 155, 8 May 2004

Britain
Firms agree Potters Bar liability
Network Rail and the rail maintenance company Jarvis have accepted legal responsibility for claims brought over the Potters Bar rail crash. In a joint announcement the two firms said accepting liability would provide "comfort and assistance" to victims of the May 2002 crash.
Risks 154, 1 May 2004

Britain
Over 3,500 deaths; not one jail term
Leaders of construction unions TGWU and UCATT have called for an end to the "outrage" of workplace deaths - and for prison terms for dangerous negligent employers. They say "hearing the clunk of the cell doors behind the first jailed director will result in immediate changes to safety practices on sites."
Risks 154, 1 May 2004

Britain
No justice yet for dead and dying workers
The TUC has expressed concern at government stalling on the promised corporate killing law. TUC's Frances O'Grady called on ministers to bring to justice those employers who, through negligence and a callous attitude to health and safety, put the lives of their workers and members of the public at risk.
Risks 154, 1 May 2004

USA
Voluntary work safety isn't safe
Company efforts to avoid safety regulation and enforcement by introducing voluntary safety schemes aren't working, according to new research. US Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) researchers found chemical facilities owned by companies enrolled in the industry-sponsored voluntary safety programme have had more than 1,800 accidents per year since 1990.
Risks 152, 17 April 2004

USA
Mexican lives come cheap in Florida
Florida is operating a racially-driven compensation system which defaults to breaking the law rather than pay full death compensation when Mexicans are killed in its workplaces.
Risks 152, 17 April 2004

Britain
Jail law call after firm's £2m disaster fine
Rail union RMT has said killer bosses should face the prospect of jail time. The union was commenting after a court fined Thames Trains a record £2 million for its part in the deaths of 31 people in the 5 October 1999 Paddington train.
Risks 151, 10 April 2004

Britain
TGWU welcomes fresh call for corporate killing law
TGWU has welcomed a Bill which would introduce greater accountability for corporate safety criminals. Frank Doran MP's 10 minute rule Bill on corporate killing was put before parliament on 30 March.
Risks 150, 3 April 2004

Australia
Serial killer escapes with fine
A fine of just Aus$60,000 (£24,500) following the death of a construction worker has sparked renewed calls for harsher penalties for Australia's killer employers. Pat Preston of construction union CFMEU said: "We need to send the message home to employers who are serial killers, who don't take into account their employees health and safety, that they will face hefty fines and jail sentences."
Risks 148, 20 March 2004

Britain
Six figure fine and safety award for killer company
A company awarded a top safety honour has been fined £100,000 for safety offences that contributed to the death of a worker. JDM Accord Ltd was awarded the British Safety Council's "sword of honour" in November 2003 in the same week the court proceedings commenced.
Risks 148, 20 March 2004

Britain
Manure attack farmer jailed
A Cornish farmer has been jailed for two years for plunging an animal health inspector and a vet into a slurry pit. Roger Baker, 61, was found guilty in January of attacking Jonathan McCulloch and Susan Potter on his land at Ventongimps, near Truro, last year.
Risks 146, 6 March 2004

Britain
Official support for Scots corporate killing law
The Scottish Executive is committed to bringing forward laws to deal with corporate killing, Cathy Jamieson, the justice minister, has said.
Risks 146, 6 March 2004

Britain
Most companies say directors should be responsible
Most company directors believe a senior director should be responsible for safety and over half think they should be criminally liable for safety failings.
Risks 145, 28 February 2004

Australia
Unions call for work death law
Families and friends of workers killed at work have told a parliamentary enquiry in New South Wales (NSW) that the low fines for workplace deaths are a "disgrace." industrial manslaughter law will take effect in the Australian Capital Territory on 1 March 2004.
Risks 145, 28 February 2004

Britain
Campaigners call for end to "joke" work death penalties
Unions and legal experts have renewed calls for a work death law. The move comes after continuing UK government delays in bringing forward promised corporate killing legislation.
Risks 145, 28 February 2004

Britain
Manslaughter probe follows 19 migrant deaths
Police investigating the deaths of 19 people who drown picking cockles have arrested a number of people on suspicion of manslaughter. Critics are asking why government safety watchdog HSE had not intervened to stop what was evidently a highly dangerous practice.
Risks 143, 14 February 2004

Britain
Migrant deaths force government about face
Tough new laws to drive unscrupulous "gangmasters" out of business were promised by the government in the wake of the Morecambe Bay cockling tragedy. The move represents a total about face by the government, which has consistently resisted union pressure, spearheaded by rural workers' union TGWU.
Risks 143, 14 February 2004

Britain
TUC supports bill on penalties
The TUC is backing a Bill by Andy Love MP which would see companies that commit health and safety crimes paying much higher fines for injuring or killing their employees. The ten minute rule bill received its first reading on 10 February and if successful would see magistrates courts fine employers guilty of health and safety offences up to £20,000, compared to a £5,000 maximum now.
Risks 143, 14 February 2004

USA
"Cavalier" boss gets jail term for scaffold deaths
A US judge has jailed construction boss after five immigrant workers were killed in what was a "tragic certainty" rather than an accident. Philip Minucci, 32, received a 3½ to 10½ year sentence. The judge added that the case also illustrated how "astonishingly ineffectual" the federal government's safety watchdog OHSA has been in protecting workers' lives.
Risks 140, 24 January 2004

South Africa
Minister "angry" at site deaths
South Africa's labour minister says he is saddened and angry about the continuous death and injury of workers in the construction sector.
Risks 140, 24 January 2004

Britain
Scotland's judges develop corporate homicide law
Scotland's High Court has ruled for the first time that companies can be prosecuted for the offence of "culpable homicide." It has also established a principle of law that allows companies to be prosecuted without needing to prosecute a director or senior manager.
Risks 140, 24 January 2004

Britain
Six figure fine after teenager dies
Conder Structures Limited, the company that designed a steel column that fell on a 16-year-old worker, killing him instantly, has been ordered to pay £160,000 in fines and costs.
Risks 138, 10 January 2004

USA
Employers getting away with "wilful" deadly violations
The official US workplace safety watchdog is facing a storm of criticism after revelations about its lax approach to safety enforcement. The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) scarcely ever seeks prosecution after the 100 plus workplace fatalities each year accepted to be caused by "wilful" safety violations by employers.
Risks 138, 10 January 2004

Britain
"Utterly reckless" boss jailed for worker's death
An "utterly reckless" boss has been jailed for a year for manslaughter after one of his workers was crushed to death. Peter Pell pleaded guilty to manslaughter after it was found he removed all the safety features on the machine that killed Shaun Cooper, 27.
Risks 138, 10 January 2004

Britain
More delays for the corporate killing law
The UK government has confirmed the timetable for the promised corporate killing law has been delayed again, but says it still intends to publish a draft bill in the Spring of 2004.
Risks 138, 10 January 2004

USA
Prison threat for managers arrested at work
Four managers at US company Atlantic States Cast Iron Pipe Co., allowed to get away with intimidation and serious and sometimes deadly safety violations for years have been arrested at work, and could face lengthy jail terms if found guilty.
Risks 137, 20 December 2003

BRITAIN
Widow joins fight against Crown Immunity
A south Wales widow has joined a national campaign to scrap the Crown Immunity which prevents her suing the Royal Mint over her husband's death. The reform campaign is being spearheaded by the Centre for Corporate Accountability.
Risks 136, 13 December 2003

BRITAIN
Management failures cost CSG £650,000
Cleansing Services Group Ltd (CSG) has been fined £250,000 and ordered to pay £400,000 costs for breaches of environmental and health and safety regulations involving fires and radioactive and other hazardous wastes.
Risks 136, 13 December 2003

BRITAIN
Corus fined after another workplace death
Corus UK Ltd has been fined £150,000 and £50,000 costs following an incident in which locomotive driver Michael McGovern was killed on 15 September 2000 when the train he was driving at the Corus steelworks in Scunthorpe derailed. The incident is one a series at Corus plants country wide, including the death of Gary Birkett, killed at the Scunthorpe plant on 5 November 2002.
Risks 135, 6 December 2003Also see Hazards' Corus webpage

BRITAIN
CCA challenges flawed corporate killing plan
The government's plans for a corporate killing law, already under attack for delays and for not bringing dangerous directors to book, could also breach human rights laws by excluding public bodies from its scope.
Risks 135, 6 December 2003

BRITAIN
Balloon protest for workers' safety
Members of the Transport and General Workers' Union (TGWU) have released 400 balloons over Manchester city centre to highlight the risks to safety at work from employer negligence. Dave McCall, regional secretary for the TGWU, said: "The TGWU is pressing the government at the highest level to honour their manifesto commitment to make corporate killing a crime."
Risks 135, 6 December 2003

BRITAIN
Amicus say UK workers deserve Oz style law
The trade union Amicus has reacted angrily to news that an Australian state has implemented the corporate manslaughter laws that were missing from the UK government's legislative plans. Amicus said that workers in the UK should be celebrating the same industrial manslaughter protection as their counterparts in Australia, especially as corporate manslaughter laws were a UK Labour Party manifesto pledge in 1997.
Risks 135, 6 December 2003

BRITAIN
Unions call for jail for workplace killers
Construction unions have renewed their call for jail terms for company directors who endanger their staff by flouting health and safety laws. The appeal came after Murli Thadani and his company, Marketing Exchange for Africa, were handed fines of £99,000 as a result of the New Cleveland Street warehouse collapse, which killed three Hull workmen.
Risks 134, 29 November 2003

AUSTRALIA
First industrial manslaughter law passed
A new law industrial manslaughter law has been passed in the Australian territory that includes Canberra, the home of the business-friendly national government. The move, which has been welcomed by unions, came despite the strong opposition of business and the national government.
Risks 134, 29 November 2003

BRITAIN
Dismay at further deaths law delay
Laws aimed at making it easier to prosecute businesses responsible for deadly safety crimes have been left out of the government's legislative timetable.The move has angered unions, as the government had previously indicated a "corporate killing" law would be introduced in 2004.
Risks 134, 29 November 2003

NEW ZEALAND
Unions call for corporate manslaughter laws
Company owners who show reckless disregard for the lives of their workers should face corporate manslaughter laws, New Zealand's top union body has said. Council of Trade Unions (CTU) president Ross Wilson was commenting on a case involving property developer Brent Clode and his companies, fined a total of NZ$89,000 (£33,400) following the death of Te Rue Tearetoa, an incident that saw Clode described by the prosecutor as "reckless in the extreme."
Risks 133, 22 November 2003

BRITAIN
Will the UK get tough on the safety criminals?
A law to aid the prosecution of companies responsible for fatal accidents is expected to be enacted before the next general election. A 10 November 2003 article in The Independent says Home Secretary David Blunkett has won approval from the Cabinet to publish a draft Bill on corporate manslaughter - but there is no mention of jail time for dangerous directors.
Risks 132, 15 November 2003

CHINA
Firework factory blast kills child labourer
A firework factory explosion in a Chinese village has killed a 14-year-old child labourer and left 11 seriously injured. The 19 October factory blast occurred in Dapingling village, Hunan Province.
Risks 131, 8 November 2003

CANADA
Corporate killing law passed
A union backed corporate killing law has been been passed in Canada. United Steelworkers' national director Lawrence McBrearty said the passage in the Senate of the "Westray Bill" is a victory for working people, 11 years after the death of 26 miners at the Westray coal mine in Stellarton, Nova Scotia.
Risks 131, 8 November 2003

AUSTRALIA
Unions condemn criminal logic
Unions in Australia are stepping up their campaign to collar the workplace safety criminals. Workers Online editor Peter Lewis concludes that "to argue that there should not be criminal sanctions for workplace deaths is to argue that workers are somehow worth less than other people. And that's an offensive argument, as offensive as $1800 for a life."
Risks 131, 8 November 2003

It's official - life is cheap
The Health and Safety Executive's top boss has slammed low penalties, down 21 per cent on last year, for workplace safety criminals. The average fine for health and safety cases across the UK fell by 21 per cent, from £11,141 in 2001/02 to £8,828 in 2002/03 - partly because there were fewer of the larger fines.
Risks 131, 8 November 2003

BRITAIN
Outrage as workers lose on penalties
Last year's dramatic drop in the average penalty for criminal health and safety offences has been labelled an "outrage" by a top safety organisation. Mick Holder said: "Nothing will change until errant employers face real sanctions in the Crown Court, such as prison and much higher fines that reflect the seriousness of the crimes."
Risks 131, 8 November 2003

AUSTRALIA
10,000 march for work death laws
Pressure is mounting on the on the New South Wales state government to introduce industrial manslaughter legislation. An estimated 10,000 workers chanted "jail bosses that kill" as they marched through Sydney and rallied in from of Parliament House to protest at workplace deaths.
Risks 130, 1 November 2003

AUSTRALIA
Striking builders to march over workplace death
Construction workers angry over the death of a 16-year-old labourer will stop work on 27 October to march on the New South Wales (NSW) parliament and demand jail sentences for bosses who are slack on safety.
Risks 129, 25 October 2003

BRITAIN
Bereaved families criticise Scots justice
The criminal justice system in Scotland has been criticised by families bereaved as a result of workplace fatalities.
Risks 129, 25 October 2003

BRITAIN
Dangerous directors get off scot free
Only two company directors or senior managers in Scotland have been convicted of health and safety offences since April 1999, according to the Centre for Corporate Accountability (CCA). It adds that no director or company in Scotland has ever been convicted of a homicide offence following a work-related death, compared to eight company directors and five companies convicted of manslaughter in England and Wales.
Risks 128, 18 October 2003

BRITAIN
Manslaughter charges over yard death
Police have charged a man with manslaughter over the death of Plymouth yacht yard worker Benjamin Pinkham. Mr Pinkham, a 21-year-old heating engineer, of Saltash in Cornwall, died six days after suffering serious burns in a 3 February explosion at Princess Yachts International.
Risks 128, 18 October 2003

THAILAND
Fatal accident jail sentences too lenient
The bereaved relatives of 36 people who died in an explosion at a Thai canning plant have called on justice minister Pongthep Thepkanchana to monitor their appeal against the "too mild" sentences handed down to the factory's management team. Two managers received six and four month jail terms.
Risks 127, 11 October 2003

AUSTRALIA
Jail back on the menu for bad bosses
Deadly Australian employers could soon face jail time as industrial manslaughter proposals resurface with strong political and union support. Negligent bosses face up to 25 years jail if their workers are killed under industrial manslaughter laws before the ACT (Australian Capital Territory) Legislative Assembly, one of Australia's regional governments. "We plan to have this legislation passed by November," says ACT industrial relations minister Katy Gallagher. "We take this very seriously."
Risks 127, 11 October 2003

BRITAIN
Amicus to "twist government's arm" on corporate crime
A trade union says it intends to increase the pressure on ministers if the government fails to introduce a corporate killing law. Mike McCartney, Amicus AEEU's head of education, commented: "If the government will not honour their commitment to legislate for corporate killing then Amicus will twist their collective arm until it does."
Risks 126, 4 October 2003

BRITAIN
HSE sets individual prosecution criteria too high
Official guidance for safety inspectors could mean some guilty parties are not prosecuted. A briefing by the Centre for Corporate Accountability (CCA) says HSE inspectors have been told that the prosecution of directors, managers and other individuals should only take place in certain, very limited, circumstances.
Risks 120, 23 August 2003

BRITAIN
Boss jailed for workers' deaths
The head of paint stripping firm ENG Engineering has been sentenced to nine months in jail for the manslaughter of two of his workers. Mumtaz Hussain, 43, and 22-year-old Ghulum Sarwar died after being overcome by toxic fumes. Company boss Ian Morris was found guilty of manslaughter at an earlier hearing.
Risks 117, 2 August 2003

THAILAND
Talking responsibility is not taking responsibility
Unions in Asia have accused Thai multinational Charoen Pokphand (CP) Group of "window dressing" after the company that co-owned the deadly Kader toy factory that burned causing 188 deaths boasted at a human rights conferences of its corporate responsibility.
Asian Food Worker, July 2003Risks 116, 26 July 2003

USA/INDIA
Dow told to accept responsibility for Bhopal
Eighteen members of the US Congress have sent a letter to Dow boss William Stavropoulos demanding that his company assume liability for the wrongdoings of Union Carbide in Bhopal. The group are demanding that Dow - the company took over Union Carbide after the disaster - provide medical rehabilitation and economic reparations for the victims of the tragedy, undertake an environmental clean up, and ensure the company appears before the Chief Judicial Magistrate's court in Bhopal where it faces charges of culpable homicide.
ICJB news release, 22 July 2003

BRITAIN
Will the government deliver on corporate killing?
Corporate killing legislation may take longer to deliver than campaigners hope. Reports say when draft legislation is published at the end of the year it will be sent out for industry-wide consultation - the third corporate killing consultation in nine years, leading to accusations that the government is "consulting us to death."
Risks 115, 19 July 2003

BRITAIN
Hatfield crash accused in court
The two companies and six men charged with manslaughter after the Hatfield rail crash have made their first court appearance. If found guilty, the individuals could face life imprisonment and the two companies could be ordered to pay unlimited fines.
Risks 115, 19 July 2003

AUSTRALIA
New law can jail dangerous employers
Employers will face jail if their negligence causes death or serious injury to a worker, under tough new laws unveiled by the Western Australia state government.
Risks 114, 12 July 2003

BRITAIN
Rail bosses to face crash death charges
In a move welcomed by unions, Network Rail, the maintenance firm Balfour Beatty and six senior managers are to face manslaughter, gross negligence and safety charges over the October 2000 Hatfield train crash in which four passengers died.
Risks 114, 12 July 2003

SOUTH AFRICA
Business and labour should ensure safety at work
The time has come for both employers and employees to improve safety standards in the workplace, a top South African safety official has said. Esther Tloane, the Labour Department's executive manager for safety, said: "Employers who put profit first before human life must be exposed so as to ensure that corrective measures are enforced." She said her department would not hesitate to close any business where workers' lives were put at risk.
Risks 113, 5 July 2003

BRITAIN
Factory boss guilty of manslaughter
A factory boss has been found guilty of manslaughter after his negligence led to the deaths of two employees who were overcome by solvents. Ian Morris had denied failing to implement a safe working environment at his paint-stripping factory, ENG Industrial Services.
Risks 113, 5 July 2003

BRITAIN
Ford death fine "not justice" says family
Car giant Ford has been fined £300,000 after contract worker Christopher Shute, 30, fell into a vat of hot paint and drowned. Two contract managers, Peter Preston, 51, and Paul McKenzie, 55, were also fined £5,000 each for failing to ensure the safety of staff. The family of the dead man criticised a decision to drop charges of manslaughter prior to the case coming to court.
Risks 111, 21 June 2003

AUSTRALIA
Work deaths campaign wants better communication
Employees and employers will be urged to improve communication in an Aus$1 million (£0.4m) advertising campaign aimed at cutting workplace injuries. WorkSafe, the official safety watchdog in the state of Victoria, says its newspaper, television, radio and billboard ads will tell employees to speak up if something is wrong in the workplace.
Risks 111, 21 June 2003

BRITAIN
Public backs union corporate killing drive
Two-thirds of people in the UK believe there should be a new corporate killing law and that directors should be accountable for safety crimes, according to a poll for the Transport and General Workers’ Union. The poll also found "nearly two-thirds of people believe company directors should be able to be prosecuted for a serious criminal offence like manslaughter."
Risks 111, 21 June 2003

BRITAIN
Don’t let work killers off the hook, CWU says
Communications union CWU says the government must beef up its corporate killing proposals to make company directors liable for safety crimes. CWU's Dave Joyce said: "If reckless corporate behaviour is really to be challenged, directors must be held personally responsible, not just the company as a whole, with prison sentences and disqualifications for dangerous directors."
Risks 111, 21 June 2003

BRITAIN
Cuts play "Russian roulette" with workers’ safety
The HSE is "playing Russian roulette" with workplaces safety in an effort to meet 5 per cent budget cuts, HSE inspectors' union Prospect has warned.
Risks 111, 21 June 2003

USA
Safety accountability to change, for better or worse
Dangerous US employers could face jail time under a proposed new law - or could get be given a get out of jail free card if an alternative proposal goes through. Jon S Corzine, a US Democratic senator from New Jersey, says he intends to introduce a "Wrongful Death Accountability Act" to increase criminal penalties for employers who willfully violate safety laws. Meanwhile, a proposed "Occupational Safety and Health Fairness Act" that would make it much harder to cite a willful violation of safety regulations is set to go before a 17 June Congress subcommittee.
Risks 110, 14 June 2003

CANADA
Union-backed safety accountability bill moves forward
Corporations will be held criminally responsible if they fail to provide a safe work environment, under a union-backed proposed Canadian safety law.
Risks 110, 14 June 2003 
Westray updates from Canadian unions NUPGE and USWA Canada

BRITAIN
Go director to jail
Pressure is increasing on the UK government to supplement its corporate killing proposals with measures to make it possible to jail employers. Unions Aslef, UNISON, TGWU, GMB and UCATT, Amicus and CWU have all made explicit call for directors as well as companies to be made more accountable. And a 7 June 2003 editorial in The Lancet said: "until chief executives are made directly responsible for decisions that lead to injury, it is unlikely that the huge toll of work-related injuries will fall."
Risks 110, 14 June 2003

BRITAIN
Transco gas deaths charge dropped
Appeal court judges in Scotland have thrown out a culpable homicide charge brought against gas pipeline firm Transco following the deaths of a family of four. If the company had been convicted, it would have been the first time in Scottish legal history that a charge of corporate killing had been successful.
Risks 109, 7 July 2003

BRITAIN
Safety in danger!
Health and safety enforcement could be scaled back dramatically if planned funding cuts go head (Risks 104). Prospect, the union representing HSE inspectors and specialists, says planned cuts in HSE’s budget "cannot fail to have a detrimental impact on workplace safety."
Risks 109, 7 June 2003

BRITAIN
Slap on the wrist for dangerous directors
Just fifteen people who are either company directors or very senior managers were convicted of health and safety offences between April 1999 and January 2003, according to research conducted by the Centre for Corporate Accountability (CCA). The convictions, following offences committed between October 1996 and October 2001, resulted in fines averaging £2,656, said CCA.
CCA news release and reports on director safety and manslaughter convictions Risks 108, 31 May 2003

BRITAIN
Unions angry as government commutes workplace death sentences
A commitment by Home Secretary David Blunkett to bring forward corporate killing proposals this year has drawn criticism from unions and campaigners for letting negligent company directors off the hook.
Hazards briefing on the Home Office proposalsRisks 107, 24 May 2003

BRITAIN
Bosses charged over chimney deaths
Two company bosses have been charged with manslaughter after a pair of steeplejacks were killed by a fireball which engulfed them while demolishing a chimney in Greater Manchester. Paul Wakefield, 40, and Craig Whelan, 23, were working inside the 200ft tower in Westhoughton, near Bolton, when there was an explosion.
Risks 107, 24 May 2003

USA
Three strikes and you’re out
Borrowing from the controversial punishment for multiple street crimes, opponents of corporate crime in California are trying to create a three-strikes-and-you're-out law for businesses. A proposed Bill, which would cover illegal financial dealings, consumer and environmental protection, civil rights, union rights and employment laws, passed its first hurdle at the start of March.
Risks 105, 10 March 2003

BRITAIN
Back the corporate killing amendment
The TUC is urging trade unionists to get their MP to back an amendment to the Criminal Justice Bill which would create a new offence of corporate manslaughter. The amendment would establish that "a corporation is guilty of corporate killing if (a) a management failure by the corporation is the cause or one of the causes of a person’s death; and (b) that failure constitutes conduct falling far below what can reasonably be expected."
Risks 99, 29 March 2003

BRITAIN
TUC backs new duty on companies to have safety directors
The TUC is backing a new Bill that would make company directors more accountable in law for the safety of their workplaces, which went before MPs on 29 March. The Company Directors (Health and Safety) Bill, presented to the Commons by Labour MP Ross Cranston, for Dudley North, gained an unopposed first reading but is unlikely to become law.
Risks 99, 29 March 2003

AUSTRALIA
Government wants safety equally bad nationwide
Australia’s federal government has launched an investigation into how occupational health, safety and compensation laws could be set nationally, because existing state systems "add to business costs." Unions and some state governments however say the new inquiry is an attempt to introduce a "lowest common denominator for safety" with the states with the worst standards setting the benchmark nationwide.
Risks 98, 22 March 2003

AUSTRALIA
Workplace minister says "bad employers do more good than harm"
Australia’s national workplace relations minister Tony Abbott has claimed industrial manslaughter laws are not needed because 'a bad boss is a little bit like a bad father or a bad husband - notwithstanding all his faults, you find he tends to do more good than harm.'
Risks 98, 22 March 2003 • Stop Abbott’s war on workers - guide from construction union CFMEU [pdf format

USA
Bush embarrassed into action on safety
The Bush administration says a new enforcement policy will give the safety watchdog OSHA more power to crack down on companies that persistently flout workplace safety rules, with the possibility of automatic inspections at all their worksites when an egregious safety violation, for example a fatality, occurs at one. Critics say jail time, not fines, will better focus the minds of dangerous employers. Democratic Senator Jon Corzine is seeking support for a proposed Wrongful Death Accountability Act, which would increase to 10 years from 6 months the maximum criminal penalty for employers who cause the death of a worker by willfully violating safety laws.
Risks 97, 15 March 2003

BRITAIN
Corporate killing is bad business
The TUC, campaign groups and MPs from the three main political parties have called on the government to honour its 2001 election manifesto pledge to introduce a corporate killing law. A corporate killing briefing, published by the TUC, the Centre for Corporate Accountability and Disaster Action says good employers have nothing to fear. Brendan Barber, TUC general secretary elect, said: "A law against corporate killing will be good for business, good for safety and good for workers and members of the public whose lives are currently being put at risk."
Risks 97, 15 March 2003

BRITAIN
Second British Sugar death in one month
A worker has been killed in a boiler room explosion at a British Sugar factory just a month after a worker died at another of the company’s plants.
Risks 96, 8 March 2003

BRITAIN
BT criticised by coroner, police and union after worker’s death
A British Telecom engineer was killed when she was thrown from the top of a telegraph pole, an inquest has heard. British Telecom employee Tara Whelan, 30, died in hospital on 2 June 2001, a week after the incident. BT, one of the world's largest telecommunication company, faced criticism from the police, coroner and CWU, Tara's union, for it actions in relation to the case.
Risks 96, 8 March 2003

BRITAIN
HSE report backs "corporate killing" law
A new HSE backed research report says new corporate manslaughter legislation "should act as a powerful deterrent to help prevent needless injuries and deaths whilst at the same time punishing the grossly negligent."
Risks 94, 22 February 2003

USA
A week of death

If the 18 people who die every day in America's workplaces all died at the same time, there would be national headlines. Most, however, die one at a time, hardly noticed by anyone except their family, friends and co-workers. What about heroism? Does the fact that you "knowingly" face danger for a higher cause make you a hero? Exploring the frontiers of space? Knowingly working in a dangerous workplace to feed your family?
Full article by Jordan Barab, 5 February 2003

BRITAIN
Work killers escape through legal loopholes
Since Labour gained power 2,000 people have died at work, but government promises to clampdown on corporate safety criminals have not been matched by action, says David Bergman of the Centre for Corporate Accountability. He adds that "only 11 companies have been prosecuted for manslaughter, only four of which - all very small firms - were convicted. The number of directors who have ever been jailed for such offences is just two."
Risks 92, 8 February 2003

BRITAIN
Transco charged over gas blast deaths
The gas supply company Transco has been charged with culpable homicide following a December 1999 explosion in Larkhall, South Lanarkshire that killed four members of one family. It is the first time in Scotland that a company has been accused of culpable homicide.
Risks 92, 8 February 2003

BRITAIN
Work penalties bill on hold
The Health and Safety (Offences) Bill was not reached in debate in the House of Commons on 7 February and will now continue its second reading on 7 March. Scarborough and Whitby MP Lawrie Quinn's ten minute bill would raise the maximum level of fines for most health and safety offences to £20,000 and make it possible to imprison employers for the most serious offences, and raise the fine for employers who are not properly insured.
Risks 92, 8 February 2003

USA
A week of death
If the 18 people who die every day in America's workplaces all died at the same time, there would be national headlines. Most, however, die one at a time, hardly noticed by anyone except their family, friends and co-workers. What about heroism? Does the fact that you "knowingly" face danger for a higher cause make you a hero? Exploring the frontiers of space? Knowingly working in a dangerous workplace to feed your family?
Full article by Jordan Barab, 5 February 2003

AUSTRALIA
The writing's on the wall for manslaughter law
Unions in New South Wales are making a big claim for a corporate killing law. Massive billboards call for the introduction of industrial manslaughter legislation into state law. The union-backed billboards feature the body of "A Worker", with a toe tag stating the cause of death as poor occupational health and safety practices.
Risks 89, 18 January 2003

Dead wrong
As the Trades Union Congress and the Centre for Corporate Accountability launch a national work deaths campaign, Hazards ask why companies and their directors are still getting away with murder.
Hazards 77, Jan-March 2002

BRITAIN
Corporate safety criminals get Blair reprieve
Tony Blair's crime blitz to safeguard the victims of crime, will not include measures to bring justice to those killed or injured by workplace safety criminals. Responding to the absence of corporate killing legislation in this year's work plan, TUC general secretary John Monks said: 'The TUC believes that corporate killing legislation is as important now as it was a year ago when it was included in Labour's manifesto.'
Risks 80, 16 November 2002

AUSTRALIA
Coroner highlights Esso's guilt for deaths explosion
A coroner's finding that "Esso is solely responsible for the disaster and tragedy that is known as Longford" confirms the explosion in which two workers died was avoidable and a gross failing by management, a union body has said. The finding is a further blow to Esso as it continues to battle a Aus$500 million (£174m) class action in the Victorian Supreme Court. The multinational already has been fined Aus$2 million (£714,000) arising from the 11 criminal convictions related to the explosion, and has paid out more than Aus $1 million in compensation to 10 victims.
Risks 80, 16 November 2002The Australian


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