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Act of mercy


Mr Cooper's letter (NCE 16 September) causes some confusion.

The Institution does promote the art and science of civil engineering. However, under the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974 we all have a duty of care to ensure that 'so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of all'.

At present the fine for a prosecution under the Act is limitless, and in light of the fact that the government will be implementing the Corporate Manslaughter Bill soon, it would be to everyone's benefit that we all 'facilitate best practice in the delivery of health and safety management policy'.

The Corporate Manslaughter Bill allows for life imprisonment should the perpetrator be found guilty. On top of a healthy fine and civil litigation, I would think that any discerning engineer must agree that the health and safety board have a point.

As a final point, without health and safety we would have an unenviable increase in the construction industry's current fatality rate and a lot more grieving families. We must ask the question what is the value of life?

Peter Tate(M), principal engineer, Risk Management & Demolition, Highway Network Services, p. tate@bury. gov. uk

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