Health and safety fines up by 80%

17 November 2017

In February 2016 changes to sentencing guidelines meant that fines imposed were set to increase.

Prosecution data released by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) showed an 80% increase in fines from 2015/16 to 2016/17. This was the first complete year where the new sentencing guidelines have been in full effect. However, interestingly, the number of prosecutions brought by the HSE has reduced to the lowest numbers in five years. 

In 2016/17 the largest single fine awarded to an organisation was £5m, in contrast to the largest fine of 2014/15 which was £750,000. Since the sentencing guidelines have been in place the average fine has increased from £29,000 in 2014/15 (a full year under the old guidelines) to £128,000 in 2016/17. 

The number of custodial sentences given to individuals has also increased by 2% since the new guidelines have come into force. 

Construction, agriculture and manufacturing industries remain the highest risk for fatal injuries to workers - although these numbers are the lowest compared to the annual average from 2012/13 – 2016/17. 

The content of this article is for general information only. For further information regarding health and safety fines, please contact a member of Birketts' Health and Safety Team

This article is from the March 2018 issue of Health and Safety Help!, our newsletter for professionals tasked with health and safety matters. To download the latest issue, please visit the newsletter section of our website. Law covered as at March 2018.

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