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A recent freedom of information request by the Institute of Occupational Safety and Health has revealed a total of 19 fines imposed for at in excess of £1 million for Health and Safety Offences during 2016.
This compares to only three such fines during 2015 and none at all in 2014, suggesting a significant increase in fine levels as a result of new Sentencing Guidelines which took effect from February 2016.
The guidelines introduce much tighter links between level of fine and the offending employer’s turnover, culpability and severity of risk caused by an offence.
Toby Halliwell, a Barrister at Unity Street Chambers in Bristol who specialises in defending companies, directors and individuals subject to Health and Safety prosecutions says –
“Whilst financial penalties regularly exceeded to £1 million mark during 2016, it is highly likely that we will see a continuing upwards trend as a result of the Guidelines during 2017. Early and detailed preparation is now more critical than ever in order to mitigate effectively within the new framework.”
Toby Halliwell May 2017