news release



21 July 2006 immediate release ( Back to news releases)

Families against corporate killers, launched last weekend, are utterly disappointed in the government’s Corporate Manslaughter Bill published today.

‘This Bill is not fit for purpose and will not have any major effect in deterring negligent employers from injuring and killing people as it does not carry the threat of imprisonment for gross negligence. Killing someone at work is a crime unless it is a freak and unforseeable accident but the HSE estimates 70% of deaths and serious injuries are due to management failures. This bill will not change that situation so more people will be killed just for doing their job or being in a workplace.’ Say fack.

Dorothy Wright, a founder member of fack from Scotland, whose son was killed in an explosion at a recycling plant, says: “Having read it I don’t feel the bill is worth the paper it is written on. As a relative bereaved by work, I feel totally betrayed by this government. They have sold out citizen’s lives for 30 pieces of business silver”

Fack feels the Corporate Manslaughter Bill fails to bring true justice for the members of their families killed by an employer’s gross negligence. “A fine however large is not an appropriate or a proportionate penalty for the crime of killing a person by flouting health and safety law which is in fact criminal law. Larger corporations will pay the fine and carry on killing and maiming as usual.” Said Linda Whelan, founder fack member, whose son Craig was sent to work on flammable material with hot cutting gear and was killed alongside his fellow steeple jack Paul Wakefield in the ensuing fireball at Metal Box in Bolton.

Families say this, not out of vengeance or bitterness, though they have the right to feel that, but because employers with a healthy fear of the penalties for ignoring or avoiding legal health and safety measures, and of course a credible threat that they would be caught, are less likely to kill people. "We want justice for their own sons, husbands, daughters and mothers, but we also want things to change, we want a dramatic improvement in health and safety in all workplaces across the country and this Bill will not do that." Said Paul and Dawn Adams, founder fack members, whose son Samuel was killed when an 18 stone railing, which had been unsafely leant against a wall, hit him on the back of his head as he was standing in front of it at the newly opened Trafford Centre.

The government has made some changes to the Bill which are to be welcomed but much is the same despite vigorous criticism from families and trade unions. The senior manager test is the same but some changes to the factors for a jury to consider in determining whether a gross breach has occurred are better and remove some of the problems of the ‘controlling mind’ which bedevil existing legislation which allowed large corporations to get off the hook.

Members of fack are united in saying:

“This Bill is a totally wasted opportunity to improve our health and safety by a government that does not consider workers and their families as true stakeholders, but allows its policies to be determined by the corporations and businesses which carry out the grossly negligent killing! Many a boardroom will be echoing to corporate man’s laughter today as the government has done their bidding.”

Fack contacts:

Dorothy and Douglas Wright whose son Mark was killed last year in an explosion at a recycling plant Dorothy and Douglas have set up a petition, Tel: 01475 670442 Mobile 07818442083

Linda Whelan whose son Craig was killed in a fire in a chimney at Metal Box in Bolton, Tel 01388 773884 daytime Mobile 07919334793

Linzi Herbertson whose husband Andrew was killed when he fell from scaffold platform while dismantling a printing press in Oldham in January 1998. Tel 0161 681 8078 Mobile 07790024379

Dawn and Paul Adams whose son Samuel was 6 years old when he was killed at the newly opened Trafford Centre in October 1998, Tel: Tel: Paul 07937252021, Dawn 07725208882.

Hilda Palmer, Hazards campaign, Windrush Millennium Centre, 70 Alexandra Road, Manchester M16 7WD Tel: 0161 636 7557 e-mail: