The Health & Safety Sentencing Revolution

1 February 2016 saw the biggest change in health and safety enforcement for over 40 years, since the Health and Safety at Work Act (HSWA) came into force in 1974.

The new sentencing guidelines for health and safety offences and corporate manslaughter sets out a nine-step codified approach tied to corporate turnover.

Every business or organisation that has employees or other workers for which it is responsible for their health and safety needs to know about the new sentencing guidelines and how they will impact upon their business. It is now vital to bring the importance of health and safety to the attention of board members and senior executives and explain how the law expects them to act in order to avoid colossal financial penalties and stay out of jail.

George Coyle, head of Rollits' Regulatory Team said "1 February 2016 marked the day that the financial penalties for corporate manslaughter, health and safety, and hygiene offences rose to an astonishing level.  In appropriate cases the Court can, and will, now impose a financial penalty in the knowledge that it will lead to the financial collapse of the business upon whom the fine has been imposed. 

"This is all part of a drive to ensure regulatory compliance and, in particular, to ensure that it is more expensive not to comply with relevant regulations than it would be to comply with them. 

"It is now even more important for businesses (and the individuals responsible for health and safety matters) to be on their guard whenever "an inspector calls"."

Posted on: 02/02/2016

This article is for general guidance only. It provides useful information in a concise form. Action should not be taken without obtaining specific legal advice.

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