The sister of an electrician who was killed in an incident deemed preventable at work, has supported a bid to reform the laws surrounding Culpable Homicide. Louise Taggart, brother of Michael Adamson who was killed in 2005, shares his case in the hope it will serve as a deterrent for employers.
The bill – named Culpable Homicide (Scotland) Bill - proposes two statutory kinds of culpable homicide where loss of life is caused through recklessness or gross negligence of businesses, corporations and employers.
If successful, the Culpable Homicide Bill will also create new legal paths for families of victims killed by recklessness or gross negligence of their employer. Over the last five years, 17 work-related deaths have occurred on average per year and yet no prosecution under existing legislation has been given in the last decade. This, in turn, means that a worker in Scotland is more likely to be killed on the job than a worker in England.
Ms Taggart, now trustee of health and safety charity Scottish Hazards, commented that the law provided very little in the way of justice for the loss of her brother. She hopes that if the Bill proved successful it would not only emphasise the justice deficit faced by families, but would also serve as a deterrent for negligent employers.
Claire Baker MSP, creator of the Bill, explained that a duty of care should be defined by legislation to make clear what responsibilities employees have to their employers. Baker concluded:
“It is simply unacceptable in the 21st century for people to go to their work and not come home to their families due to recklessness or gross negligence by their employer.”