Research by law firm Clyde & Co. has shown that the number of company directors and managers prosecuted by HSE in the year to 31 March 2016 more than trebled from 15 to 46 persons. In the same period the number of employees prosecuted has fallen from 10 persons to just 1.
According to the research of these 46 prosecutions 34 were found guilty and 12 were given prison sentences, the longest of which was 2 years.
We can only reach one conclusion from the data above and it confirms what we have seen from assisting the thousands of clients across the UK in both construction and industry, and that is that HSE are pursuing clients with a zeal not seen in the past 20 years.
A second conclusion seems to be that prosecutions against employees are becoming less likely, and perhaps less attractive to the enforcer. Prosecutions against corporate bodies and directors bring with them valuable income from FFI at a time when the regulator is facing budget cuts. Its seems unlikely that the situation will change in the near future and change which could see all businesses covered by HSE from next year to increase the number of fines and prosecutions still further (see our post on this here).