Legislation

Recent research has revealed that the number of company directors who have been prosecuted for health and safety offences, has trebled in a year.

Main findings

The study was carried out by Clyde and Co using data provided from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). Over the year ending 31st March 2016;

  • 46 directors and managers were prosecuted by the HSE compared to 15 the previous year
  • 34 were found guilty and 12 were given prison sentences
  • The longest prison sentence was 2 years
  • The number of employees prosecuted fell from 10 to just 1
  • Fines also rose by 43%

Chris Morrison, partner an UK head of safety, health and environment at Clyde and Co comments;

“The data confirms what we’ve been seeing in practice with the HSE displaying an increased zeal to prosecute the most senior individuals with a business, yet virtually ignoring employees who are frequently more culpable.

“By making senior management responsible for the health and safety failings of their business and their staff, the increased enforcement is a serious boardroom issue.”

Chris Morrison continues: “While the majority of director prosecutions relate to SME businesses due to there typically being some form of proximity or nexus with the director, the new game changing sentencing guideline for health and safety breaches with turnover related fines has created a new set of worries for directors of all sized businesses.”

 

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