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Calls to jail directors responsible for employee safety

A CAMPAIGN launched last week called for company directors to be jailed if found responsible for deaths on construction sites.

It also demanded a substantial increase in funding for the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) so that it can enforce safety laws more vigorously.

The campaign was launched jointly by the Centre for Corporate Accountability (CCA) and the Trades Union Congress.

Proposals include imposing legal duties on named company directors to ensure employee safety. Those found guilty of neglecting their duties would face imprisonment.

In the year to April 2001, there were 114 deaths in the construction industry.

The CCA estimated that resources for the HSE need to be doubled to £390M over the next three years, and the number of inspectors increased.

It said that the shortage of inspectors meant that the HSE was unable to visit site for which it was responsible even once a year.

Solicitor Mike Elliker, a safety expert with solicitor Addleshaw Booth & Co, agreed with the proposals and said that a new offence of breaching personal duty could be introduced against errant directors.

He said companies should appoint a safety director, responsible for ensuring adequate funding was available for safety, who would be personally responsible for any failure.

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