Sunday, April 3, 2016

Accountability, wholesale and retail

According to this report from the UK, the British Health and Safety Executive has censured the Ministry of Defence in connection with the exhaustion death of three reservists. Excerpt:
The HSE investigation could well be the final official action to be taken following the tragedy, unless a Royal Military Police investigation – which is still ongoing – ends in the prosecution of individual SAS officers for their role in the tragedy. 
The censure is all the Executive can do, as it is not allowed to prosecute another Crown organisation in the same way it can prosecute a private business or individual. 
"The HSE investigation found a failure to plan, assess, and manage risks associated with climatic illness during the training," said a HSE statement. "These failings resulted in the deaths of the three men and heat illness suffered by 10 other on the march. 
"The MoD cannot face prosecution in the same way as non-Government bodies and a Crown Censure is the maximum sanction for a government body that HSE can bring. There is no financial penalty associated with Crown Censure, but once accepted is an official record of a failing to meet the standards set out in law. 
"Despite its Crown status, the MoD is not exempt from its responsibilities as an employer to reduce the risks to its employees as far as reasonably practicable. But for Crown immunity, the MoD would have faced prosecution for the failings identified," he added. 
The HSE's head of operations, Neil Craig, hit back at criticism of his organisation for its work to improve safety in the military, most recently from army chief General Sir Richard Barrons, who said tougher health and safety rules for training soldiers brought in after a number of fatalities including the Brecon Beacons tragedy, had left soldiers 'unprepared for war' and even 'afraid' of their own weapons.
The question is whether any disciplinary action has been or will be taken against individuals.

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