Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide

The Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007 came into force today.

This long awaited legislation has finally started and sadly it will probably not be long before we see the first prosecutions of senior managers. If you are a senior manager or director, do you know what the legislation means to you and your organisation? If you do not, then follow the links below to the Ministry of Justice web site and to the Health and Safety Executive - it will make for sobering reading.

The good news is that all is not doom and gloom - your organisation will almost certainly have many plans and systems in place that go a long way to protecting your employees, the public, contractors and yourself. What can often be missing in organisations is the vital element of leadership that takes you from the good intentions and aspiration for zero accidents, to fully embedded behaviours at all levels. Being able to progress to the 'interdependent' end of the Bradley Curve is the hot topic for many a Board of Directors and if it isn't then it certainly should be.

The UK's Health and Safety Directive have spent a great deal of time, research and effort into understanding the characteristics of a well led safety culture. They found the following:

'Effective health and safety performance comes from the top. Directors and Boards need to examine their own behaviours, both individually and collectively, against the guidance given - and, where they see that they fall short of the standards it sets them, to change what they do to become more effective leaders in health and safety'.

Why senior managers, directors and board members need to act

  • Protecting the health and safety of employees or members of the public who may be affected by your activities is an essential part of risk management and must be led by the board.
  • Failure to include health and safety as a key business risk in board decisions can have catastrophic results. Many high-profile safety cases over the years have been rooted in failures of leadership.
  • Health and safety law places duties on organisations and employers, and directors can be personally liable when these duties are breached: members of the board have both collective and individual responsibility for health and safety.

Essential principle of leadership:

  • Provide strong and active leadership from the top
    • visible, active commitment from the board;
    • establishing effective 'downward' communication systems and management structures;
    • integration of good health and safety management with business decisions.
  • Engage all your employees and creative genuine involvement in putting Safety and Health  at the forefront of all you do
    • engaging the workforce in the promotion and achievement of safe and healthy conditions;
    • effective 'upward' communication;
    • providing high quality training.
  • Assessment and Review
    • identifying and managing health and safety risks;
    • accessing (and following) competent advice;
    • monitoring, reporting and reviewing performance.

The HSE has found that strong leadership and the creation of a Safety Culture will help you to meet your legal obligations. The surprising bonus for those that have gone down this route, is that you will also increase your productivity and effectiveness all round, as the leadership begins to engage and motivate your employees.

DevelopChange has created a partnership with leading Health and Safety specialists bringing together our experience of leadership, engagement and continuous improvement, with the latest thinking in H&S strategy and application. If you want to find out more and have an initial, free consultation then please contact Richard Neilson at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it