Graham Hurdle's blog: 17 June 2013 - Is the Corporate Manslaughter Act worth the paper it's written on?
17 June 2013
Graham Hurdle is managing director of E-Training World
In the 12 months leading up to September, 2012, 1,770 people were killed on UK roads. Experts suggest that a third of fatalities involved somebody driving for work, which means nearly 600 employees were killed while driving on business.
Yet five years after the Corporate Manslaughter and Homicide Act came into effect, I read that there have been only three successful prosecutions, and not a single one involved a vehicle fleet.
So, are we to assume that companies are wasting their time and money on risk management because there is no real threat of prosecution?
The answer is a wholehearted no. Investment in road safety is essential and does pay dividends.
In my view, pressure will mount for the Corporate Manslaughter and Homicide Act to become a real law in the fleet sector, rather than a piece of paper.
The Government will not want it to be made a mockery of and it's only a matter of time before we see the first high profile case come through.
Cases are being referred, and reports also indicate that out of court settlements are already being made by companies that wish to keep their names out of the press.
Yet that aside, there is so much more to risk management than protecting yourself from prosecution, and when we talk to companies, the legal perspective isn't the main talking point.
Cost savings sit at the top of the list. Improved safety means fewer accidents which means less cost.
Even the smallest knocks and scrapes caused by poor manoeuvring can put a big dent in your finances, and other common accidents such as rear end collisions are expensive and time consuming, as well as potentially dangerous.
Showing a duty of care towards your employees is also important. There is a growing sense of corporate responsibility nowadays and staff expect their employers to offer them a safe working environment.
Safety while driving forms a key part of this and drivers that are used to being assessed and trained can be surprised if a new employer doesn't offer it.
While the legal threat may feel distant, it is certainly not a time for companies to become complacent.
By investing in risk management companies will make savings, and with the correct policies and procedures in place you'll also sleep at night knowing you won't become the first high profile case.