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New Sentencing Guidelines Introduced For Corporate Manslaughter, Health And Safety And Food Safety

New sentencing guidelines have been published aiming to ensure a consistent, fair and proportionate approach to sentencing organisations or individuals convicted of corporate manslaughter, health and safety and food safety and hygiene offences.

Offences that come under the guidelines are very varied and could include a building firm that causes the death of an employee by not providing the proper equipment for working at height, a restaurant that causes an outbreak of e. coli poisoning through unsafe food preparation, a manufacturer that causes injury to a new worker by not providing training for operating machinery or a gas fitter whose sub-standard work leads to the risk of an explosion in someone’s home.

The publication of the guidelines ensures that for the first time, there will be comprehensive sentencing guidelines covering the most commonly sentenced health and safety offences and food safety offences in England and Wales. Until now, there has been limited guidance for judges and magistrates in dealing with what can be complex and serious offences that do not come before the courts as frequently as some other criminal offences.

The introduction of the guidelines means that in some cases, offenders will receive higher penalties, particularly large organisations committing serious offences – such as when an organisation is convicted of deliberately breaking the law and creating a high risk of death or serious injury. It is not anticipated that there will be higher fines across the board, or that they will be significantly higher in the majority of cases to those currently imposed.

The increase in penalties for serious offending has been introduced because in the past, some offenders did not receive fines that properly reflected the crimes they committed. The Council wants fines for these offences to be fair and proportionate to the seriousness of the offence and the means of offenders.

In order to achieve this, the guidelines set out sentencing ranges that reflect the very different levels of risk of harm that can result from these offences.

Corporate manslaughter always involves at least one death, but health and safety offences can vary hugely; they may pose the risk of minor harm or lead to multiple fatalities. Food offences are also wide-ranging. They could involve poor hygiene or preparation standards in a restaurant kitchen that put customers at risk of illness or that cause fatal food poisoning.

The sentencing ranges also take into account how culpable the offender was. This could range from minor failings in procedures to deliberately dangerous acts.

While prison sentences are available for individuals convicted of very serious offences, most offences are committed by organisations and therefore fines are the only sentence that can be given.

The guidelines use the turnover of the offender to identify the starting point of the fine. Turnover is used as this is a clear indicator that can be easily assessed.

However, turnover is never the only factor taken into account. The guidelines require the court to “step back”, review and adjust the initial fine if necessary. It must take into account any additional relevant financial information, such as the profit margin of the organisation, the potential impact on employees, or potential impact on the organisation’s ability to improve conditions or make restitution to victims. This means sentences will always be tailored to the offender’s specific circumstances. Fines may move up or down or outside the ranges entirely as a result of these additional mandatory steps.

Legislation requires that any fine imposed must reflect the seriousness of the offence and take into account the financial circumstances of the offender. All factors being equal, a similar level of fine given to a large, wealthy corporation on the one hand and a sole trader with a modest turnover on the other would be unfair, just as the same speeding fine given to a premiership footballer and someone on an average income would not achieve the same level of punishment or deterrence.

The UK’s record on worker fatalities is good, but where such offences are committed, the Council believes fines should be available which reflect the seriousness of the offence. As well as causing fatalities, health and safety offences may risk or cause a wide spectrum of injury and illness, including a life-changing disability or health condition for victims.

While addressing remedial action with offenders is the responsibility of the Health and Safety Executive rather than the courts, the guideline does provide for remedial orders to be made by the court in addition to or instead of punishment in cases where they may be appropriate. The guideline also includes a range of mitigating factors which allow for voluntary positive action to remedy a failure on the part of offenders to be reflected in sentences.

Sentencing Council member Michael Caplan QC said, “These guidelines will introduce a consistent approach to sentencing, ensuring fair and proportionate sentences for those who cause death or injury to their employees and the public or put them at risk. These offences can have very serious consequences and it is important that sentences reflect these.”

Rod Ainsworth, Director of Regulatory and Legal Strategy at the FSA said, “We welcome these guidelines. They will ensure that there is consistency in sentencing for food safety and food hygiene offences across the country. They will also ensure that offenders are sentenced fairly and proportionately in the interests of consumers.”

Following their publication today, the guidelines will come into force in courts on 1 February 2016.

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US Department Of Labor's OSHA Cites Werner Construction After Worker Fatally Struck By Front-End Loader

Werner Construction Inc. has been cited for three safety violations by the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration after a maintenance worker was fatally injured after being struck by a front-end loader.

The worker became pinned between the loader and a semitrailer. The 35-year-old full-time employee died of his injuries on Sept. 14, 2013.

"Struck-by hazards continue to be one of the leading causes of injury to workers. OSHA has investigated 37 cases in the past six years in which a worker was fatally injured from a struck-by vehicle incident in the Kansas City Region alone," said Marcia P. Drumm, OSHA's acting regional administrator in Kansas City. "Employers must train their workers to identify the potential for such hazards and take necessary precautions to prevent them."

Werner Construction was issued two serious citations involving operating the front end loader which had not received required servicing of safety features and failing to have someone adequately trained to administer first aid when medical treatment was not near the workplace. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known. The other-than-serious citation involved failing to conduct a workplace hazard assessment for personal protective equipment. An other-than-serious violation is one that has a direct relationship to job safety and health, but probably would not cause death or serious physical harm. OSHA has proposed fines of $14,000.

In addition, OSHA has issued Werner Construction a hazard-alert letter because workers were exposed to being crushed when working around the front end loader which was being used to hold heavy materials in place. This letter is used to alert employers of potential hazard exposure and provide recommendations to protect the workers. Hastings, Neb.-based Werner Construction Inc. was last investigated by OSHA in 2009 after a worker was fatally injured while operating a paving machine.

In the past five years, 15 percent of all workplace fatalities investigated by the Kansas City Regional OSHA Office have involved struck-by vehicle accidents in the workplace.

Struck-by injuries and fatalities are caused by conventional traffic/passenger vehicles, forklifts and other moving, powered industrial equipment, such as cranes and yard trucks. Because of this, OSHA is continuing its regional outreach initiative in Missouri, Iowa, Kansas and Nebraska to educate workers and their employers about preventing such accidents.

Causes of struck-by accidents typically involve reverse vehicle movement into a pedestrian outside the driver's field of vision, or vehicles falling off ramps, inclines or unstable ground. 

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Round Table: Critical Considerations When Designing Individual Expat Medical Insurance Plans

Critical Considerations When Designing Medical Insurance Plans

Whats important when designing medical insurance plans for overseas assignments, relocation, business and leisure travel? How are insurers viewing the market and is there a shift towards short-term cover, for individual expatriates and travelers

Job Title: C-Level ONLY

Questions:

What factors must one consider when designing health and medical insurance plans for individual expatriates?

Talk us through your under writing capabilities and ideas: (think about Full medical underwriting, Continuing Personal Medical Exclusions (CPME) and Moratorium)

What benefits does full medical underwriting bring?

How do your private medical insurance plans cover pre-existing conditions?

What is the key to success when designing health insurance plans for individual expats?

Can you talk us through your distribution channels and any new trends you have identified?

How does designing a good expatriate health insurance product equal quality driven healthcare anywhere, at any time?

How important is the portability of an individual expatriate insurance plan?

How can insurers add value to expatriate health insurance plans?

Currently, what is your most popular and appropriate plan for an individual expat working on a short-term assignment?

What new plan features and benefits can we expect to see in the next 5 years?

Specifics: iPMIM Executive Round Tables are not open to all and remain invite only. You may apply for a position if you satisfy the following criteria:

  • You are a specialist and recognised underwriter or provider of private medical insurance products;
  • You have an established network of third party service providers including healthcare providers and distribution partners.

PLEASE note that satisfying the criteria and applying will not guarantee a position at the table.

Participants enjoy:

  • Complete inclusion in 4 executive round tables;
  • Full professional executive bio;
  • Company logo;
  • Company bio;
  • Single or double page advertisement;
  • Complete online promotion.

About International Private Medical Insurance Magazine (iPMIM) Round Tables

The aim of iPMIM Round Tables is to facilitate Dialog and Debate at an Industry and Government level. Bringing together International Industry Leaders and Policy Makers, iPMI Magazine Round Tables represent the perfect arena for educational, interactive, cross border, cross culture and cross industry discussion, at the highest level.

 

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Round Table: The Effects of the Maritime Labour Convention on the Global Insurance Industry

The Effects of the Maritime Labour Convention on the Global Insurance Industry

The Maritime Labour Convention (MLC) is an International Labour Organization convention established in 2006 as the Fourth pillar of international maritime law and embodies "all up-to-date standards of existing international maritime labour Conventions and Recommendations, as well as the fundamental principles to be found in other international labour Conventions".

Title 4 of the MLC covers Health Protection, Medical Care, Welfare and Social Security Protection

Medical care on board ship and ashore: Seafarers should be covered for and have access to medical care while on board; in principle at no cost and of a quality comparable to the standards of health care on shore. Countries through which territory a ship is passing should guarantee treatment on shore in serious cases.

Shipowners' liability: Seafarers should be protected from the financial effects of "sickness, injury or death occurring in connection with their employment". This includes at least 16 weeks of payment of wages after start of sickness.

Health and safety protection and accident prevention: A safe and hygienic environment should be provided to seafarers both during working and resting hours and measures should be taken to take reasonable safety measures.

Access to shore-based welfare facilities: Port states should provide "welfare, cultural, recreational and information facilities and services" and to provide easy access to these services. The access to these facilities should be open to all seafarers irrespective of race, sex, religion or political opinion.

Social security: Social security coverage should be available to seafarers (and in case it is customary in the flag state: their relatives).

Job Title: C-Level ONLY

Specifics: iPMIM Executive Round Tables are not open to all and remain invite only.

You may apply for a position if you satisfy the following criteria:

  • You are a specialist and recognised underwriter or provider of private medical insurance products for the maritime industry;
  • You have an established network of third party service providers including healthcare providers and distribution partners.

Participants enjoy:

  • Complete inclusion in 4 executive round tables;
  • Full professional executive bio;
  • Company logo;
  • Company bio;
  • Single or double page advertisement;
  • Complete online promotion.

Click here to see a demo of how the round tables will be published.

Questions:

  • What has the Maritime Labour Convention meant for the insurance industry?
  • What insurance plan do you provide for the maritime and marine industry?
  • What opportunities exist for insurers in the maritime and marine business?
  • What challenges do insurance companies face in the marine and maritime industry?
  • How complex an operation is the repatriation of crew, to suitable medical facilities, in the case of an incident?
  • In the case of a mass casualty disaster, how prepared is the industry to respond?
  • How prepared are payor provider networks for such situations?
  • With an estimated 1.5 million workers, the Maritime Industry crosses cultural, political and physical borders every day.
  • How popular are value added services like Employee Assistance Services, in the maritime and marine industry?
  • What is important when designing maritime and marine insurance plans?
  • How can maritime insurance plans assist in the fight against piracy in the Indian Ocean?
  • How will the maritime and marine industry develop over the next 5 years and what will this mean for insurance companies?

About International Private Medical Insurance Magazine (iPMIM) Round Tables

The aim of iPMIM Round Tables is to facilitate Dialog and Debate at an Industry and Government level. Bringing together International Industry Leaders and Policy Makers, iPMI Magazine Round Tables represent the perfect arena for educational, interactive, cross border, cross culture and cross industry discussion, at the highest level.

To apply for a position please click here.

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Powered by iPMI Magazine, iPMI Magazine Round Tables facilitate the best industry dialog and debate, at an industry and government level. iPMI Magazine Round Tables host the most important industry players and VIP's from various sectors of the international private medical insurance industry.

International Private Medical Insurance companies, emergency assistance networks and all related service provider segments like air and ground ambulance are involved. Didactic, executive, informative and in-depth group business meetings.

Educate, discuss and lead from the front. Learn from peers and network with new clients, iPMI Magazine Round Tables are designed by the industry, for the industry.