Fourth conviction for corporate manslaughter reported
Although the Corporate Manslaughter & Corporate Homicide Act was passed in 2007, there have only been four convictions so far. None have been in the healthcare sector although prosecutors have clearly considered this in some cases.
The latest conviction arose in Northern Ireland.
An animal feed manufacturer, J Murray & Son, was convicted following the death of a worker in February 2012. The worker had only been employed at the company for eight weeks and died after he became entangled in the moving parts of a meal blending machine. Although there were no witnesses, it is thought that he either fell into the machine or his clothing caught on the machinery as he was loading it. The feed mixing machine had been bought in 2009 and the company’s managing director had removed safety guards from the top to enable easier mixing of food. However this exposed moving slats and although the machine had been operated in this way for three years, this led to the death in this case.
The company was fined £100,000. This took account of a one-third discount for a guilty plea and also took into account (1) the company’s ability to pay and (2) the local implications for the employment market if it were to go out of business (the company employed 16 people from the local area). The company was given five years to pay the penalty and also ordered to pay £10,450 in costs.
The fine was obviously significant but not as high as in some recent health and safety prosecution cases. It is of note that in imposing the fine the court that took account of the firm’s turnover. Whilst this obviously assisted the Defendant here, in any future prosecution of a larger company with a significant turnover, the fine could be significant.
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CQC Fine for failure to meet medication regulations
One of the enforcement actions available to CQC is to impose a fine. CQC has recently issued a fixed penalty notice to St Phillip’s Care Ltd after inspectors found that medication concerns had not been addressed properly for three months and that accordingly, CQC considered there was a failure persistently to comply with national standards on the safe management of medicine. A fine of £8,000 was imposed.
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