Before the enactment CMCHA 2007, a corporation had to be in “unsophisticated break of the duty of care owed to the victim” for it to be indicted for manslaughter. Introduction of CMCHA 2007 made prosecutions more comfortable since it has created a unique constitutional offence that is based on corporate accountability; therefore it does not single out individuals.
Construction is one of the world’s largest industries. Regrettably, it also records quite some deaths and injuries, and even one of the most dangerous industries. Approximately one thousand workers are killed every year and almost one million injured. More workers in the sectors are exposed to the asbestos fibres (Eurostat, 1999.) All over the years, the industry has recorded some improvements while adjusting the safety and health levels trying to reduce the rate of illness, deaths and injuries. The industry has to cater for quite many losses during such incidents forcing it to seek every means to improve the safety and health sector. Therefore, all stakeholders involved are liable to take proper actions and mend the department.
Improving the health and safety of the demolition
Various countries tend to organise competitions awards to companies and organisation in the industries. The awards motivate the players to come up with ways to reduce incidents which lead to casualties and life-loss. The players make crucial decisions from the inception of projects to their completion. They have to take the keen interest in improving the department at each stage of their plans. The law enforcement authorities have roles to play in promoting the industry as well by providing crucial information where workers are made aware of the safety and health practices. Exchanging information through various media platforms is essential as it also creates awareness through the shared materials. Construction workers continued to utilise the health and safety legislation which remarkably protects them. Employers take appropriate actions trying to avoid being sued by individuals. Personal injuries claims lead to employers losing large sums of money. The trade unions are on the forefront in dealing with the health and safety sector this is due to certain estimates of at least 15000 people dying prematurely, and 200000 injured at work every year. The figures are brought about by the reduction in site inspections and prosecutions. These have led to the need to strengthen the law enforcement.
Construction (design and management) regulations about health and safety have also cited various causes of accidents. Falls, mobile plant, falling material and electrical accidents are some of the common causes of deaths and injuries. CDM requires individuals to comply with the health and safety legislation in controlling such risks where only workers with the right skills and know-how are available in all projects. Contractors are not left behind. Contractors are required to provide appropriate supervision, instruction and information and have a well-designed construction phase plan. A construction phase plan highlights the job awareness, start and finish dates, the available facilities and other individuals on the site. Every person is made aware of the main dangers on site and the controls the contractors have towards such hazards. The documented phase plan for sites organises site dangers from height falls to risking the member of the public. In CDM regulations every threat has measures and controls taken against it.
Mostly, if you are working on a project where there are demolition works, you need to apply CDM. Clients are answerable and are liable to influence their plans. In demolition, a project manager assigned by the client allocates sufficient time and resources for the project and provides the relevant information to other stakeholders. The well-being of every worker on the site should be catered for by giving the appropriate facilities.
Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act (2007) protects workers in an organisation where activities involved are risky and may lead to death. The actor plays a significant role in the demolition sector. The act deems an organisation guilty of a particular offence where such activities are organised in a way that might lead to death. The act’s ‘relevant duty of care’ is owed to the workers where they must undertake in the health and safety sector.
The act has helped create some organisations to help affected families deal and manage disasters in cases of death. Where there are fatalities demolitions projects are concerned with productivity and morale drop. Death creates stigma and changes in other workers social life during the rest of the project. Therefore, the organisation has to try various ways to improve the performance of the workers and even some essential players during such events. Organizations find it quite difficult to cope up with the situation in such incidents. The condition worsens especially in the demolitions sector where there is fear. The solidarity breaks and fear dominate the entire working platform. The act governs whole construction and maintenance platform. Stress dominates the demolition sector, especially where the contractor is forced to use the crane and ball method of demolition. This method requires highly skilled operators, and at the same time, it creates a high level of environmental pollution.
Apart from the social impact, accidents and fatalities have technical influence in the activities. Different procedures in the demolition process have also advanced with the importance of the possible legislation. The new CDM Regulations emphasise more on the design plan, and potential safety risks early on and even give clients more responsibility. The Incident and Injury Free Executive forum is one of the programs that are committed to safety. Its primary concern is on the procedures used in the demolition industry. If somebody thinks what they are about to do is unsafe, it is likely they will express their concerns, and the situation will be redressed. The workforce as a collective also has more of a voice than ever before to communicate general worries and problems. Such programs are also regulated by the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act section 5 as they operate. The programs are designed in a way that they provide training as well. The act insists that there is no relevance in the duty of care where the training is done in a hazardous nature. An example is where the demolition trainees are subject to learn and placed at the leading edge of the process. This is considered a violation of the act and dangerous actions might be taken depending on the judge whenever there is a case.
Imposed fines on offence improve both the safety and health sector. Companies fear to ruin their reputations due to publicity where companies are forced to post their conviction and their crime. In such events, the companies believe to have damaged the legacy they have diligently worked to create.
The recruitment and retention of staff by the industry are also likely to be influenced due to perceptions of a customer. All this destroys the client-contractor relationship and the supply-chain at the same time damaging the equity of the company and providing competitors with significant advantages. Companies fear to lose this since it takes a lot of time to build and protect such reputations. Therefore, due to publicity orders, companies have developed a defensive nature by improving on their health and safety department especially when dealing with demolitions. Whenever prosecutions arise from a suspected breach of health and safety legislation, the Corporate Manslaughter cases also result from such violations. In such cases, the prosecution defence costs are covered. Industries in the construction industries try not to be the defendant as it is easier for the ‘plaintiff’ to sue them. From the above, the health and safety department in the construction industry have been improved and adequately organized through mitigation against accidents and mortalities. Large construction companies have taken actions to reduce the severity by introducing the health and safety culture. This culture revolves around time, cost and quality.
Influences that contribute to success and failure of the implementation of Health and Safety
Corporate Manslaughter has an impact in fortifying the organisation’s compliance with existing health and safety health and safety laws. The process is considered a success since the current manslaughter cases prove difficult to prove against large organisations. Since the government failed in duties of implementing the objectives of the criminal law, it is considered a sense of injustice. The act is simple in that it is mostly determined to ensure successful prosecution of manslaughter in company cases and making it more comfortable, and to prosecute companies of higher categories. The CMCHA 2007 does not add or remove any health and safety law from the existing one. The act does not produce any new health and safety law. Companies abiding by current law and regulations have no additional obligations with which to comply.
There is a high possibility of effective prosecution of homicide with the help of CMCHA 2007. However, the act does not provide new cautions for foreign corporations that operate in the UK and does not have similar legislation. This shows a failure in the implementation of the law as it will also indicate changes in expected values of the risk of fatalities. In such cases different corporations especially those in the construction industry will have to continuously re-evaluate their risk assessments considering their operations in the UK. CMCHA 2007 is regarded as a new realisation by some establishments in handling the safety and health of different players and where establishments that have failed to comply with laws fully, the act creates justice. The bill makes organisations alert. Large organisations invest in building policies which are in good order and staffs who comply with the law.
The action tends to lie more on the safety culture where, when a company have proper policies and observe them, then they are on them. Hence, the act is considered biased as targeting companies of higher ranks with their systems becomes difficult. Corporations, where appropriate policies and procedures are not in place might have the safety and health regulation undermined. It is even more comfortable for the companies to a management crisis leading to untimely decision making.
Large corporations defend themselves with their policies making it difficult to prosecute them using the act. The act is considered a failure when it comes solving fatalities cases against large corporations and individuals, yet it highlights the problem of corporate killings. Bureaucracy is deemed to be high in this case, and the act does not make a great difference in the health and safety sector. Technicalities and wording used to create a massive difference between a health and safety and a corporate manslaughter offence. These technicalities are seen and how they will ultimately pan out depends on a whole series of issues most remarkably exploratory resources, monitoring resources. By requiring the authority approval to prosecute, the Act impends to entrap prosecution in the political process to an unacceptable degree. Future cases may create a repercussion from companies and their representatives. Some organisations are huge and hold power over the low-cost and even politics that corruption of some sort is a likelihood.
The creation and imposition of legislation threaten the position of managers particularly those in the construction industry. Management accountabilities become irksome and intimidating.
The factors that contributed to a significant impact on Health and Safety in my organisation in the last five years
There was the need to move from the technological and management system approaches for enhancing health and safety performance in organisations to understanding human behaviours and factors that contribute to accidents and health and safety failures. This is one of the moves that had a significant impact on Health and Safety sector in the organisation. Most disasters are brought about by safety failures on construction sites. Have been attributed to unsafe behaviours employees exhibit on site which sometimes is times is not explainable. Most accidents are brought about by risky actions and not the circumstances.
This is where some individual dare to undertake some activities due to overconfidence. Human will also achieve safety improvements by developing a culture of sharing standards and values about having safety as a priority before everything. Individuals exposed need to have a clear mind on the hierarchical management of the safety concerns. This is evident on sites where the safety department is organised and placed different from other departments, and it is a significant concern. Workers are made aware of the safety practices through notices and warnings pinned in every section of the construction site. The safety department takes a keen interest in every worker’s well-being. Consequently, mastering the art of being safe in an organisation also helps comprehend instant and reasonable results in reducing workplace accidents and their related costs. These consist of increased output and employee confidence. Hence, there was the need to understand the common consent on the ways to understand better behavioural and attitudinal factor that affect construction safety.
Recording the health and safety performance has a major impact on the organisation. Many organisations use records to identify the effectiveness of their health and safety management and structures. Where the records show few indications of casualties, the organisation tends to keep the records. The safety performance does not reflect the effort applied by some organisations. This shows an intricate correlation where efforts have significant contributions to the performance of the health and safety sector.
Safety accomplishment are measured and determined by the relevance of the injuries. The large corporations review their yearly health and safety records to check the management techniques. The cultures employed by different organisations are difficult to measure since they are based on norms, attitude and practices which are not readily retrieved.
Although the safety performance and culture are not easily measured, it is assumed that a healthy lifestyle is crucial in daily lives production. In the construction industry, the organisations undergo quite some challenges while trying to maintain the positive culture. Individuals involved in business acquisitions and divestment, where the management changes with time, have to deal with changing the culture. The whole process interferes with the performance of the industry. Organizations are required to grow in a proper safety culture where for about five years or more the culture show enduring safety presentation. Some construction companies have inaccurate records of accidents and do not frequently update the rare events hence not taking risks into account. Other measures, such as safety behaviours and minor injuries, have also been used, and fresh approaches tend to focus on current safety activities and systems. All these used to measure success in corporations. Possibly, this is in combination with the more outdated approach to measuring performance. This is a projected approach to safety culture measurement and can also mean that organisations do not have to wait for a system failure before identifying and acting on safety issues.
The compromised health and safety sector due to financial constraints
Since every employer must ensure every employee’s health, safety and welfare are catered for; the employer becomes liable for risks arising in the course of the employment (Edwards v. National Coal Board). Therefore, financing such risks adversely affects the investment in the workplace safety. The investment in workers protection at the same time has a tight and vital margin hence firms are required to react to arising financial constraints. Some investments include introducing activities that reduce the risk of injuries while on the job and of acquiring physical assets; sophisticated machinery and simpler equipment. There is the need to maintain existing equipment and to replace the old and worn parts as a part of the safety measures. Lack of finance to cater for such requirements impedes the success of the safety and health management. Firms have to spend enough resources on impalpable activities that have many influences on the health and safety sector. Impalpable activities include workflow organisation, policies and procedures, training, and supervision which affect the safety performance.
While such a policy may seem mundane, the leading source of workplace injuries in 2012 was floors, walkways, and ground surfaces. In construction, plants have established agencies to formulate safety enhancements. Perhaps where studies are done on production processes, corporations realise the alleviation of the potential hazard. These organisational and policy activities require financial resources. Where employees are working on safety committees, the employer has to hire more of them. The management has to cater for overtime to uphold certain levels of production. The same applies wherein the need to train employees. Furthermore, rules are only valid if they are actively enforced. Firms must, therefore, devote time to monitoring and auditing to ensure that employees adhere to prescribed practices.
Insufficient finances at the firm level impact both palpable and impalpable assets safety at the foundation level. Companies earn from improved and stabilised safety measures and policies. Reduced downtime, few lawsuits, reduced wage differential and increased productivity are some of the benefits obtained from enhanced safety and health management. Nevertheless, financially constrained corporations turn down positive NPV projects to conserve resources in the short run. In the end, security becomes susceptible and might be compromised. It is logistics; a high level of workplace safety may be a luxury that resource-constrained corporations cannot afford. Furthermore, severe workplace accidents are infrequent events, making the benefits of spending to improve safety challenging to quantify and hence justify to investors.
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