GMB calls for ‘corporate murder’ charge on workplace deaths

The GMB has called for a naming and shaming regime and stronger penalties where people are killed or seriously injured at work.

HSE reportable workplace deaths last year totalled 144, but according to the latest report by the Hazards Campaign, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) fatality statistics are only the tip of the iceberg.

When you add workplace suicides, road traffic accidents, deaths at sea, in the air and on railways, and include members of the public who were killed because of workplace negligence, this totals to around 1,500 people who are killed every year.

On top of this there are another 50,000 deaths caused by work related illnesses such as cancers, lung and heart diseases.

The union also pledged to step up the campaign for changes to health and safety legislation to include a charge of ‘Corporate Murder’ and work with organisations such as Families Against Corporate Killing (FACK) to make sure families of those killed by employers’ negligence get financial compensation as well as justice for the needless deaths of their loved ones.

The motion calls for a campaign to strengthen the law and increase the penalties, to prevent killings, life changing injuries and occupational illnesses that result in misery and hardship for workers and their families.

GMB National Health, Safety and Environment Officer Lynsey Mann said: “Just one death from a work related incident is too many  – so 1,500 needless deaths is absolutely heartbreaking. These aren’t freak accidents or rare illnesses, they are almost all preventable and only happen because employers did not comply with the law.

“The extent of employer’s negligence is beyond belief. We must ensure that lessons are learned from these deaths and that the penalty fits the crime, negligent employers have been getting away with minimal fines and short sentences for too long.

“We need to come together and fight for justice for our dead and protection at work for us all. Everyone should be able to go to work and return home safe and healthy.”

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