Swifter justice for workplace deaths
28 September 2011
More health and safety prosecutions will take place before Inquest as changes to a key agreement between those who investigate and prosecute work-related deaths seek to speed up justice in England and Wales.
More health and safety prosecutions will take place before Inquest as changes to a key agreement between those who investigate and prosecute work-related deaths seek to speed up justice in England and Wales
Only in exceptional circumstances are cases currently taken before an Inquest by regulators other than the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS). Health and safety offences are usually only brought at this stage if they are being tried in conjunction with manslaughter-related charges.
However, the revised protocol will allow prosecution before Inquest where manslaughter or homicide charges are not relevant – if it is considered appropriate and in the interest of justice.
The changes to the Work-Related Deaths Protocol (WRDP), which take effect on 1 October 2011, should mean that bereaved families see a swifter resolution to prosecutions. They are being announced by the Work Related Deaths National Liaison Committee (NLC) and are supported by the Coroners’ Society.
Richard Daniels, Chair of the NLC, said: "All signatories are committed to seeking justice for bereaved family members, when a work-related death has occurred and someone should be held to account. The change will help us deliver this justice more effectively and sooner in less complex cases. The NLC has worked closely with the Coroners’ Society to agree the changes and they support this swifter resolution of prosecutions in some cases. We also welcome the Maritime and Coastguard Agency and the Chief Fire Officers’ Association as formal signatories of the revised protocol."
The change is not mandatory and it is up to each signatory organisation to decide how they will implement it.
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