The level of fines levied on businesses that fail in their health and safety duties has been increasing, with fines of £1 million or more now described as the “new norm” in the sector.
An article for Mondaq has revealed that an analysis of data from the UK’s Health and Safety Executive (HSE) revealed that 45 cases in 2017/18 saw a fine of over £500,000 imposed.
Meanwhile, fines of over £1 million were levied in 19 cases. The news provider pointed out that fewer than half of these cases involved what would be described as very large organisations, indicating that having a smaller business won’t necessarily protect you from significant financial penalties if you fail to comply with health and safety regulations.
However, the article also pointed out that the number of prosecutions brought by the HSE in 2017/18 was at its lowest level for five years. That said, the HSE achieved a conviction rate of 95 per cent, indicating that it’s focusing its efforts on the cases that are most likely to be successful.
The average level of a fine from the HSE hit £147,000 in 2017/18, the news provider revealed. That represents at 17 per cent increase on the previous year, and a 400 per cent increase since 2014/15 when the sentencing guideline for health and safety offences was introduced.
It’s not only health and safety policies that deal with potential accidents that businesses need to be aware of though. The latest statistics from the HSE revealed that 1.4 million people suffered from work-related ill health in 2017/18, indicating that there is a lot more to be done in this area.
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