Health and safety prosecution numbers twice as high as in 2012
The number of cases pursued by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has more than doubled during the last three years, according to recent data held by Cerico, an online compliance business.
Criminal prosecutions for serious breaches of health and safety legislation have increased from 24 in the year 2012, to 52 this year. The HSE has also received a higher number of appeals, which have increased from 13 to 20 in 2015. According to a consultant at Cerico, Rosie Garrigan, many of the large corporations intend to be compliant with legislation, but a number of factors may affect this, including outsourcing of services and large workforces.
Garrigan added that many companies are starting to rely on technology to increase levels of health and safety compliance, as they increasingly face challenges to embed a culture of compliance. As companies move into 2016, there will be new guidelines for sentencing released, which could have a huge impact on the corporate world.
Laura Cameron, from the law firm Pinsent Masons, has stated that penalty levels will increase sharply, while the most serious of the cases will be unfailingly pursued by the authorities.
The new guidance suggests that penalties could reach as high as £20m, while the turnover of a company may also be a factor when calculating fines. Currently, a business would face between £100,000 and £500,000 for a serious breach of the regulations that resulted in death. This may be any type of breach, which includes not wearing specialist workwear or PPE.