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.
According to a report from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), 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 only usually brought at this stage if they are being tried in conjunction with manslaughter-related charges. (WCxKit)
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 took effect Oct. 1, should mean that bereaved families see a swifter resolution to some 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, noted, "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 organization to decide how they will implement it (WCxKit)
Set up in 1998, the NLC has greatly improved the communication and collaborative working between all members when involved with a work- related death. It will be welcoming the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) and the Chief Fire Officers Association (CFOA, on behalf of fire and rescue services) as new signatories as part of a number of changes to the protocol.
Author Robert Elliott, executive vice president, Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. has worked successfully for 20 years with many industries to reduce Workers Compensation costs, including airlines, healthcare, printing/publishing, pharmaceuticals, retail, hospitality and manufacturing. See www.LowerWC.com for more information. Contact: Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.
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