BCL partner Tom McNeill writes for Construction News providing practical guidance on the considerations for responding to construction incidents resulting in fatalities, serious injuries or dangerous occurrences.
Here is a short extract from Tom’s article*. If you wish to read the full article, please visit the Construction News website.
‘Construction incidents resulting in fatalities, serious injuries or dangerous occurrences often trigger criminal regulatory investigations. These investigations have the potential to lead to prosecutions of organisations, directors, managers or other individuals. While organisations value their safety responsibilities and strive to cooperate with enforcing authorities, they also aim to safeguard against prosecution and other regulatory risks. These goals can be pursued simultaneously.
“Even in cases where prosecution is likely, a proactive approach can mitigate outcomes”
The manner in which cooperation is provided can significantly impact the final outcome. For example, construction projects often involve a number of contractors with overlapping responsibilities. Helping the enforcing authority understand the precise nature of these relationships and responsibilities, contractually and in practice, while recognising the legal duties imposed on clients, designers, contractors and workers by the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015, is often key to ensuring a favourable outcome.
Similarly, implementing “improvements” without consideration of the responsibilities of different parties, or otherwise fully comprehending the safe system of work or seeking expert involvement where required, may introduce new safety and enforcement risks. In contrast, appropriate and effective remediation can be a powerful tool in persuading an enforcing authority not to prosecute, avoiding enforcement action that would otherwise cause unnecessary project delays.’
*This article was first published by Construction News on 19 June 2023.