Employers have been warned that companies could face prosecution for manslaughter if they are suspected of causing the death of an employee or member of the public through the way they have been managed.
Corporate lawyer with Mace & Jones Ian Hodgkinson told business owners that they should pay close attention to the draft Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Bill that will pass through the House of Lords early in the year.
The bill will allow courts to consider the overall picture of how an organisation's activities were managed rather than focusing on the actions of one individual, he explained.
However, it will not be possible to prosecute a company if the failings are only at a junior level.
He said: "It will also cover organisations providing goods and services to members of the public and will to an extent lift crown immunity so that government departments and some other public sector organisations will for the first time be faced with the same regime as the private sector in this regard."
In 2005, 220 people died at work and 117 members of the public were killed in work-related accidents, Mace & Jones said.