Caveat Emptor

If I, whilst running a British-based company making garments for example, initiated or allowed unsafe working practices to occur, I would be guilty of offences against Health & Safety Law. Similarly, if the company I ran overloaded a factory floor-space with machinery, to the extent of some 200% of the safe working load to which that same factory floor was designed, and if a structural collapse happened, with deaths resultant from that overloading, I would be guilty of manslaughter.

However, if I ran a retail company specialising in fast-moving clothing priced at low market prices, and sourced all those clothes, dresses, coats etc. from a company in, say, Bangladesh; all my responsibilities would be made towards ensuring that I was getting the products ordered, on time and in good order; so that my shops would be stocked with clothing which my customers wished to buy.  I might wish to ensure that the clothing stocked in my shops were not produced using child labour, or manufactured during unsafe or overlong hours; but my responsibilities would be to my own company, or the shareholders if the company were publicly owned.

I would not, repeat not, have to burden myself or my company’s shareholders with either the responsibility, the cost or the vast expense of paying huge death benefits or compensation if another company, on another continent, made certain choices in overloading a factory with excess machinery, or made untruthful statements to their employees, in order to make then work in unsafe or deadly conditions; because I didn’t employ the company or the workers: I simply placed a clothing order.