Total Gas & Power
Total Gas & Power is a business energy supplier, wholly owned by Total SA. It has been a leading business ...Read More
Prosecution cases against UK businesses are increasing, not only against companies, but also against their individual managers and directors. If you own or manage an SME business, you should give careful through to what you can do to stay within the law – and protect yourself should a claim arise.
Take the case of Peter Mackereth, technical director of manufacturing firm Pyranha Mouldings. In March 2015, Mackereth was found guilty of negligence that led to the death of a worker trapped inside an industrial oven. He was convicted after by Liverpool Crown Court found he had failed to provide adequate risk assessment and training that would probably have saved the worker’s life.
The business was fined £200,000 and Mackereth was given prison sentence of nine months (suspended for two years) and fined £25,000. Few UK SMEs could deal with such a loss without serious risk of bankruptcy.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE), which is responsible for bringing such cases to trial, reports several such prosecutions every month. In June 2015, for example, Ross Kitson, a director of Kitsongas Limited, was sentenced for carrying out illegal gas work on a property in Dudley.
An investigation by the HSE discovered that neither Kitson nor his company were registered as Gas Safe, and were therefore putting the lives of the home owners at risk. Kitson’s company has since ceased trading.
Most D&O cases involve health and safety negligence, especially since the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act since came into force in April 2008. However, managers, directors and company owners can also be held responsible for claims involving sexual harassment and discrimination, shareholder lawsuits, and violation of data protection.
Even where a case isn’t proven, the costs associated with defending a claim, not to mention time and emotional energy, can be crippling.
So what can you do to protect yourself?
As a company director, manager or owner, the first thing to do is take every precaution against serious accidents or incidents happening in the workplace. This normally involves risk assessments followed by training and written guidelines.
However, in reality it can be difficult for small to medium sized companies to cover every eventuality in every area. Businesses are strongly advised to take out D&O insurance cover, which will minimise the damage in the case of a serious legal claim.
Aaron Gallagher recently helped me…
"Aaron Gallagher recently helped me switch the gas and electricity supply for our business. He was extremely helpful and well informed which was great for me as I know nothing in this area! He saved us a small fortune and dealt with all of the switch for us which again was extremely helpful as it wasn't completely straightforward. Thanks again for you help Aaron, it was so appreciated."This review was posted by Rachel on the 17th of February 2018
A better deal for our Village Hall
"I recently used this company to get a better energy deal for our local village hall. Other companies were quite pushy but Lorraine and Bhavni from SwitchMyBusiness were much more professional. They sent me useful information by email enabling me and the village hall committee to make a decision about which supplier to use. The switch was done by phone and when the energy provider sent the paper work to the wrong address Bhavni sorted it out straight away. I saved over £1000 for the charity."This review was posted by Irene Winter on the 16th of February 2018
"Lorraine was great and very helpful. We negotiated and received a good deal on our supply."This review was posted by Edwina Nash on the 16th of February 2018
The SME Personal Switcher
"The SME Personal Switcher, Lorraine Carey was really helpful."This review was posted by Cross Fabrications on the 16th of February 2018
Thank you, Lorraine
"Lorraine gave us excellent service.Thank you so much."This review was posted by Fiona Laycock on the 16th of February 2018