Impact of new Health and Safety Sentencing Guidelines being felt

In December 2016 we wrote about the new sentencing guidelines for health and safety offences and how penalties arising were likely to increase.

Now, a study has found that total UK safety fines have almost tripled in the first year under the guidelines.

The guidelines were introduced in February 2016 to help judges determine appropriate and consistent penalties for those found guilty of offences.

A year on their impact has been examined by the Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) and law firm Osborne Clark. What they found is that penalties are getting harsher.

The study revealed that the largest fine imposed in 2016 was two and a half times the size of the biggest in 2015 – and nearly ten times the largest in 2014.

In addition, the total of the 20 largest fines in 2016 (£38.6million) exceeded the total fine income for all 660 cases in 2015/16 (£38.3million).

The study also found that the attitude of the HSE had changed to those who failed to effectively manage risks. Prosecutions are happening, even when there has not been an accident or any injuries caused.

It’s a clear demonstration of the impact health and safety offences can have on an organisation, and it’s likely we’ll see even larger fines in future for businesses which do not meet their health and safety duties.

Robust health and safety practices not only eliminate the risk or a large financial penalty, but are also key to maintaining an organisation’s reputation and contributing to its ongoing success.

To discuss how Aegis can support you or your organisation, please call 01772 736 522 or email