Accidents at work and criminal liability

There are 2 main ways in which injuries at work can also lead to criminal law issues, which are :-

1. assault in the workplace

2. corporate manslaughter claims

Dealing with the first of the above, as harsh as it may seem, an employer, although perhaps not in criminal law, certainly in civil law, can be responsible under the doctrine of vicarious liability for the action of employees at work, even if such actions were not countenanced by the employer. This is a similar principle to that which applies for sex harassment cases at work.

The area of corporate manslaughter is a growing area and the law now states that directors or even senior managers who are not controlling a company but who are involved in the day to day process of assessment of risk, preventing accidents, maintaining equipment and such like, can be found to be personally liable for deaths suffered at work, which can lead to large fines or even imprisonment as well as claims for personal injuries. It is not surprising that the law is tough in this area due to the horrendous consequences of a death unecessarily caused due to negligence by an employer or staff.

As some examples of recent developments in this area :-