Health and Safety Fines Rise By 148%To: All Branches
UK companies paid £6.1 million in health and safety fines in 2016. That’s a rise of 148% on fines paid in 2015.
The average pay-out had risen to £211,000 – four times the £69,500 average cost seen in 2015.
These fines came from a total of 292 incidents recorded in 2016 and 358 incidents in 2015.
This rise in fines can be attributed to changes introduced with the new Sentencing Council guidelines introduced in February 2016. This definitive guidance to Magistrates and Judges introduced new tougher sentences for health and safety, food hygiene and corporate manslaughter offences.
As compelled by the new guidelines, courts must now consider culpability, seriousness and likelihood of harm and the size of the business when imposing fines.
This new system has been implemented to improve compliance with health and safety legislation for larger organisations (such as Royal Mail and British Telecommunications) by imposing fines proportionate to the size of the business. Fines for businesses with a turnover in excess of £50m can now reach up to £10m for health and safety offences, and corporate manslaughter fines could be as much as £20m.
These latest figures highlight 18 fines that were issued worth over £1 million during the year. This is a marked increase over 2015’s number of £1 million fines of which there was only two.
The new sentencing guidelines send a strong, stern message to all businesses and employers big or small that it is critical to ensure that safety processes and systems are a board level priority.
The figures reveal that the construction sector was the most costly, racking up a fines bill of almost £14m. This was followed by manufacturing (£12m), Utilities (£8.4m), Leisure (£7.4m), Logistics and transport (£7.2m), Industrials (£3.9m) and the Public Sector (£2.6m).
National Health, Safety & Environment Officer
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