The first prosecution under the Corporate Manslaughter and Homicide Act 2007 has sent a strong message to organisations – fail to provide a safe working environment and end up charged.

A Gloucestershire-based company has been charged with a 'gross breach' of duty in connection with the death of a junior employee who died when a pit collapsed on him in September 2008. A director of the company has also been charged with gross negligence manslaughter and a separate health and safety offence. The charges follow a long and complex investigation.

Wragge & Co Regulatory Litigation director Andrew Litchfield says: "This is a very serious offence with significant penalties available to the court on conviction. More cases will follow. Organisations must keep health and safety right at the top of their agenda and ensure compliance with all the relevant legislation and guidance."