New health and safety offences sentencing guidelines

New sentencing guidelines for corporate health and safety offences came into effect from 1st February. Fines are now based on a company’s turnover, reaching up to £10 million for serious infractions and £20 million or more for fatalities.

More emphasis is now being placed on the risk or likelihood of harm with fines intended to have a “real economic impact”. Organisations will be required to submit detailed financial information including turnover figures, pre-tax profit, director remuneration, pension provision, assets and debt exposure for the past three years.

Overall the changes signal the perpetuation of the recent trend for increasing fines for health and safety failings and, as with sentencing for environmental offences, heralds the onset of a far more stringent analysis of offending behaviour and the financial position of the offender.

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