The Lyme Bay canoeing tragedy.
The term tragedy is appropriate
because this appears to have been an accident waiting to happen.
The company OLL Limited offered outdoor adventure holidays,
breaks, and vacations to younger people.
Two of the instructors were concerned that the lack of
attention to safety issues within the company.
They became exasperated at the refusal of the company to take their concerns seriously.
So they felt compelled to resign,
although not before they wrote to the owner detailing their concerns.
Not long after their resignation,
a group of school children were taken canoeing in Lyme Bay.
But the weather and sea conditions changed,
and four of the school children lost their lives.
Because there was evidence that the safety failings in
the company had been brought to the attention of the owner,
the guiding mind, a case of corporate manslaughter could be brought.
The company was fined £60,000 and the owner jailed for three years,
before remission for good behavior.
The actions of the former instructors did not prevent the loss of the children's lives,
but they did form a fundamental part of
the prosecution's case that the owner of the company was criminally liable.
Had they voiced their concerns more publicly before the event,
the children's lives might have been spared.
But who would have stood by the instructors when they went public?
Who would have supported them financially and employed them in the future?
Until the passing of the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act in 2007,
the penalties imposed upon corporations and individuals
found complicit in the injuries or deaths of others,
were not adequate to support health and safety regulations.
So in response to the question, why whistle blow,
as situations in which many lives might have been
saved had the concerns of employees been listened to and acted upon.
Alternatively, the concerned but ignored employees might have taken their worries onto
a broader public platform and made the general public aware of their concerns.
The penalties are now more of the consideration for
would-be frivolities of health and safety legislation.
But in oppressive organizations, who would whistle blow,
particularly at times of difficult economic circumstances and employment shortages?
So does the type of evidence I have so far discussed
make the general argument in favor of whistleblowing correct,
justifiable, and to be encouraged?
If so, why is the act of whistleblowing under the whistleblower so
often portrayed and perceived as a negative force within society?