How to Comply with the Corporate Manslaughter Act 2007

Robert Gifford, Executive Director of the UK Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety (PACTS) was recently interviewed for the Fleet Safety Podcast. Rob provided some useful advice for organisations on on complying with the UK’s Corporate Manslaughter Act established in 2007, within the context of driving for work.

“The important point about the corporate manslaughter act is it reminds companies that they have a responsibility that they can be prosecuted if a death occurs for which there is a management responsibility. Historically it had been very difficult to prosecute a corporate body it’d had only ever been possible to prosecute an individual director and it was very difficult to prove the individual director was responsible. This actually widens it to the body of directors as a whole, obviously a prosecution for a death is in a sense an admission of failure.

What you would hope is the company would take absolutely every step that they can to prevent those fatal events occurring in the first place, having an active safety culture, insuring that information on deaths and injuries are reported regularly to the board, having a person responsible for reducing road related road risk in the same way you would have a person responsible for health and safety, so there are steps you can take but the corporate manslaughter act is in a sense the final arbiter that says ‘if something nasty does happen you can expect to be investigated with the possibility of a prosecution’.”

“The fundamental principles of health and safety apply both on the road if you like, when people are behind the wheel of a vehicle in the same way as they apply on the shop floor or in the workplace. You can identify the risk, you can identify the measure that will reduce that risk, you can minimise that risk, you can make an appropriate intervention and you can then evaluate that what you’ve done is actually working. That’s about creating an environment in which people, in which unsafe behaviours are not tolerated and in which both the employer and the employee has the responsibility to reduce the risk that, that undertaking as the law always calls it is imposing either on the employee or on third parties.”