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According to the Health and Safety Sentencing Tracker by law firm BLM, fines of more than £12m were issued to manufacturing firms last year.

This is three times more than the fines issued during 2015, resulting in manufacturing being second only to the construction industry for the number of health and safety breaches.

 

During 2016, BLM tracked 65 health and safety fines levied against companies in the manufacturing industry during the year. This represented around 25% of all health and safety fines issued.

According to the head of health and safety at BLM, Helen Devery, startup companies in the manufacturing industry often produce new technology and machinery to meet the high demands of the sector, which can create risks. At the same time, some of the older firms may be using older and cumbersome equipment, which may be similarly problematic.

 

Devery states that training and risk assessment is key when managing health and safety, which is being highlighted during sentence passing by the courts.

In February last year, the sentencing guidelines were changed, and fines may be much higher than previously, with the size of the company in mind; for example, a company with a turnover of more than £50m could be fined £10m for a health and safety breach, or even more in the case of corporate manslaughter. Although risk assessments are crucial in any company to minimise risk, the use of PPE, specialist workwear and other equipment is also necessary.

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