coronavirus health and safety prosecutions

Will we see an increase in coronavirus health and safety prosecutions?

At the start of the COVID-19 lockdown the HSE stopped undertaking routine inspections.

Like most organisations the HSE adopted remote working to deal with on-going cases and any complaints raised.

However, HSE inspectors have now re-started inspections and the next few weeks and months will reveal more about how COVID-19 safety breaches will be investigated and prosecuted.

Between 9 March 2020 and 7 May 2020 the HSE received 4,813 reports. These included 71 COVID-19 related fatalities reported under RIDDOR and 198 reports of dangerous occurrences.

To date the HSE has not taken any action against any organisation in relation to COVID-19.  However, now that the HSE has re-started inspections, it is probable that action will be taken against organisations that don’t comply with the government’s guidelines.

The HSE will also continue to focus those sectors where it has traditionally done so, including construction.