MPs debate company directors' safety duties
The campaign for corporate accountability reached the House of Commons last month, when Labour MP Stephen Hepburn introduced a private member's bill on directors' safety duties.
Hepburn introduced the bill during a debate on last summer's Work and Pensions Committee (WPC) report into the government's health and safety strategy. The WPC proposed a law on directors' duties as part of any strategy to improve safety at work, but the government has rejected this.
Hepburn said: "I am deeply disappointed that the government has rejected the Committee's common-sense recommendation on directors duties, preferring instead to rely on a combination of existing law and voluntary guidance."
Every day, one person dies in a workplace related accident, 16 people die from occupational illnesses and 391 people suffer minor injuries, he added - but two-thirds of company boards do not have a nominated health and safety director, and only 40% of boards discuss health and safety regularly.
The Health and Safety (Directors' Duties) Bill is expected to be debated again in March. It is supported by the T&G general union, the construction union UCATT, the TUC and groups representing victims' families.
Details of the directors' duties campaign are available at www.tgwu.org.uk