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New sentencing guidelines for Health & Safety legislation

Fines set to increase in 2016.

This week saw new sentencing guidelines announced for Health and Safety, and Corporate Manslaughter offence convictions taking place from 1st February 2016 onwards.

As expected, fines levied for all convictions are scheduled to increase significantly, and will now be linked to a number of factors including the culpability of an organisation or individual, the likelihood of harm given an incident, and the financial information relating to an organisation - i.e. fine bands can now be directly linked to the turnover of a business or the earnings of an individual.

To download the guidelines, please click here.

Other points to note are:

  • The guidelines come into force regarding sentencing from 1st Feb, regardless of when the offence was committed.
     
  • The guidelines are split into looking at H&S offences by organisations on page 3 (affecting employees and non employees), individuals on page 13 and Corporate Manslaughter from page 21.
     
  • Health & Safety legislation breaches by orgs - fines for serious breaches used to run to several hundred thousand pounds typically, these can now start at a fine of several million pounds for a large organisation (50m turnover and above) found to be highly culpable in a harm category 1 incident.
     
  • Corporate Manslaughter fines increase significantly – the previous starting threshold recommended for all convictions was £500,000.

    Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide offences are now split into two categories – Category A is high culpability, Category B is a lower level of culpability.

    A category A conviction for a large org (50 m + turnover) is now recommended to start at £7.5 million, with a suggested category range of anything between £4.8 – 20 million.

    But even for medium and smaller sized organisations, the impact of a conviction and associated fine increases, would be a business killer for many.
     
  • Fine tables

    Page 7 onwards for Health and Safety breaches by organisations.

    Page 17 for Health & Safety breaches by individuals – and cross ref with Fine bands on Page 47.

    Page 24 for Corporate Manslaughter fine thresholds.
     

 

 

Article Published 6.11.2015