What If Executives Feared Prison Time For Health and Safety Crimes?

Source: Jenny Brown, Labor Notes, January 27, 2011

In the U.S., owners and managers of companies like BP, responsible for 11 deaths and 17 injuries in last year’s Gulf oil rig explosion, never face jail time for the workers they kill.

That’s not the case everywhere: Steelworkers in Canada are pressing a prosecution of managers after an untrained worker died on the job. Canadian law allows for a sentence of up to life in prison.

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Act provides only for misdemeanor penalties–six months maximum behind bars–but even such minimal criminal penalties are almost never pursued.

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