SECOND CORPORATE MANSLAUGHTER CONVICTION
Lion Steel Ltd has become the second company to be charged and convicted of corporate manslaughter.
The company pleaded guilty last month at Manchester Crown Court to the corporate manslaughter of Steven Berry in Hyde. Mr Berry (45) fell through a fragile roof panel and died as a result of injuries sustained in the fall on 29 May 2008. Lion Steel Ltd will be sentenced after we go to press.
The first company in Northern Ireland to be convicted of the offence received the largest ever health and safety fine in the region earlier this year (see ‘Monitor’ June 2012, page 1).
Corporate manslaughter (corporate homicide in Scotland) has been an offence since 6 April 2008, when the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007 came into force throughout the UK.
An organisation is guilty of the offence if the way in which its activities are managed or organised causes a person’s death and this amounts to a gross breach of a relevant duty of care owed by the organisation to the deceased. The prosecution must also prove that the way in which the organisation’s activities are managed or organised by its senior management are a substantial element of the breach. If found guilty there is no cap on the amount that an organisation can be fined.
NANO-OBJECT TOXICITY TESTS REPORT
The International Standards Organization (ISO) has issued a technical report to help health scientists and other specialists understand, plan, identify, and address the physicochemical characteristics of nano-objects before they conduct toxicological tests.
More information about ISO/TR 13014:2012 ‘Nanotechnologies – Guidance on physicochemical characterization of engineered nanoscale materials for toxicological assessment’ is at: www.iso.org/iso/home/news_index/news_archive/news.htm?refid=Ref1611
SICK LEAVE AND WORKING TIME
The Court of Justice of the EU has ruled that workers who are ill during annual leave are entitled to take paid leave at a later date, irrespective of whether they became sick before or during their holiday. The re-scheduled period of annual leave may, if necessary, be carried over to the following holiday year (ANGED v Federación de Asociaciones Sindicales and others)
The decision confirms that an employee who falls ill during a holiday can, in effect, interrupt their annual
leave and take the remainder of the leave at a later date.
This conflicts with the Working Time Regulations (WTR) which do not permit the carry forward of unused leave into the next annual leave year although U UK courts are obliged, if possible, to interpret the Regulations in light of European case law. Employers are therefore advised to treat requests similar to this case seriously.
The Government has yet to respond to a 2011 consultation which proposed amending the WTR to allow workers to carry over annual leave disrupted by sick leave and the terms in which this would be allowed.
JUDITH HACKITT REAPPOINTED
Judith Hackitt has been reappointed as the Chair of the HSE, meaning that she will be in post until October 2015. The reappointment commences on 1 October 2012 and will be on a four day per week basis. Ms Hackitt was first appointed as Chair of the then Health and Safety Commission in October 2007, for a period of five years.
EC DRIVES LICENCE OVERHAUL
The UK driving licence is facing a major overhaul after the European Commission agreed a set of standards allowing an array of personal data, including the licence holder’s photo, any endorsements and iris and fingerprint biometrics, to be stored on a new chipped card.
The UK Government has already signalled its intention to discontinue the paper counterpart of the licence from 2015, which will mean that a driver will no longer have to return the driving licence to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) when they change address or receive points.
However, it may also have implications for vehicle fleets if the current licence checking policy requires drivers to bring in the paper counterpart to be checked for endorsements. This would no longer
The DVLA is tight-lipped about any plans to launch a smart card here, despite being an enthusiastic supporter of the technology in recent years. This may be motivated by fears of how people will react to a card containing so much personal information on it, when identity theft is a major concern.
It also comes in the wake of public anger to the previous Government’s plans for an identity card and the Coalition Government’s ending of the resulting watered-down voluntary version in 2010.
The DVLA has yet to decide whether or when a chip might be added, but has said it is hopeful that chipped driving licences would be rolled out in the UK from 2014.
European Driving Licence Directives require Member States to adopt a common format licence, to harmonise categories and to provide common standards of competence and fitness