We have seen health and safety fines rise by 10-15 x over their former levels since the Sentencing Guidelines were introduced in 2016 (see our earlier article for more information).
In the past few months alone there have been a number of high value, high profile fines, including:
- Network Rail fined £4 million for the death of an elderly woman at a railway crossing
- £1.6 million fine for Foodles Production company after Harrison Ford was injured on the set of Star Wars
- A £5 million fine for Merlin Entertainments after a roller coaster crash at Alton Towers left two girls having to have their legs amputated.
Health and Safety Fines rise for individuals
A recent article by Dr Simon Joyston-Bechal of Turnstone Law discusses sentences applying to individuals who have put cost cutting before safety being increased to 8 or more years in prison. More worryingly, where the two aspects for consideration under the existing sentencing guidelines are triggered you could also be moved into the very high category with a starting point of 12 years in jail (and a range of 10-18 years).
These are in consultation at present on the Sentencing Councils website and it seems from the examples used that the Council would wish to see higher fines introduced in the case of health and safety offences. They are not law yet but it does look increasingly likely that these revisions will make it through to becoming law.
You can read the article in more detail on the SHP website here; Gross negligence manslaughter: ‘Sit up & take note’ as jail terms increase