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M is for mindfulness

When there is an emergency, our natural fight-or-flight response can result in poor decision making. The traditional solution to this problem has been emergency drills – to make our instinctive reaction to the fire alarm or other alert the “right” one. The worker hears the bell and evacuates the building or site. The firefighter sees a blaze and tackles it. However, such a drill-and-practice approach is of little use when the unexpected is encountered or when the situation is constantly changing. Here, a different plan is needed.

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G is for gross negligence manslaughter

On 31 July the Sentencing Council for England and Wales published a new guideline for manslaughter applicable to sentences handed down from 1 November (bit.ly/2wjpijJ). Although not specific to safety and health offences, the guideline is expected to lengthen the sentences received by individuals deemed responsible for gross negligence manslaughter (GNM) after fatal accidents at work. A previous article (bit.ly/2BWXw1J) outlined the starting points and ranges for each level of culpability, from one year for the lowest to 18 years for the highest with maximum aggravating factors.

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