The U.K.'s Health and Safety Executive estimates up to 40 percent of workplace deaths result from serious management failures. Now the British government is pressing ahead with legislation to punish negligent employers with heavy fines or jail time in cases of deaths or injury at work, reportsThe Guardian.

The corporate manslaughter law was first proposed seven years ago, but business concerns over the concept of corporate killing have blocked any action.

At least 1,500 people have been killed at work since the Labour Party's 1997 pledge to change the law, and unions estimate that around 350 companies and organizations may have escaped prosecution because of the failure to legislate.

Because of inadequacies in current legislation, only three successful prosecutions for corporate manslaughter have occurred to date, even though numerous cases have been brought to court.

The biggest stumbling block is whether individuals at a company are liable for prosecution and, if so, how it is decided who is personally responsible.

Said one business paper editorial: "Should the board be lined up in the dock or even all the institutional shareholders who have demanded higher returns?"