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The new sentencing guidelines for breaches of health and safety have had a huge impact on the construction industry, with almost 101 companies being issued with a fine since February this year.

According to a study conducted by BLM, a risk and insurance law company, 38% of the 101 firms to receive a fine were in the construction industry, totalling £8m since the new sentencing regulations were introduced. The Health and Safety tracker monitors sentences handed out by courts in the UK.

The new guidelines were launched in February 2016, and apply to corporate manslaughter, health and safety and food hygiene cases. Turnover and size of a company will be factors when deciding the sentence. A company with a turnover in excess of £50m may be fined up to £10m for a serious breach of health and safety, while corporate manslaughter could attract fines of up to £20m.

Three of the fines which were the highest, and involved the death of either customers or staff, amounted to £5.6 million. The directors of two companies in the construction industry were handed custodial sentences in addition to a fine. Legal costs are also much higher, with £185,000 in costs for the three companies with the largest fines.

Companies who fail to comply with health and safety legislation will continue to face large fines. The use of PPE and specialist workwear would help to reduce the number of incidents in the workplace.

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