Director of Market Development, Assurity Consulting
15th November 2016
Penalties of a £1,000,000 and above were historically very rare for health and safety related offences (I can think of 3 in recent in years prior to 2016) , but since January 2016 – the month before the sentencing guidelines came into force – they are already in double figures in 11 months.
Not all these fines relate to cases where fatalities have occurred either, some are injuries and others for failure to properly manage.
What has been happening in tandem with this is an increase in company directors and senior managers also being prosecuted. Earlier this month the Financial Times reported that
“Figures obtained from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) show that in the year to 31 March 2016, 46 company directors and senior managers were prosecuted for health and safety offences. In earlier years the equivalent numbers were 15 (2015), 23 (2012), and 31 (2011).”
Commenting in SHP online Chris Morrison, Partner and UK Head of Safety, Health and Environment at Clyde & Co said that "according to the research of the 46 prosecutions in 2015/16, 34 were found guilty and 12 were given prison sentences, with the longest prison sentence imposed at two years.”
Coincidently the numbers of boards of directors, governors, senior management and senior leadership teams we’ve provided compliance briefings for has increased significantly over the last year. When was the last time your Board or SMT had the benefit of some up to date advice?