Between February 2016 and August 2016, health and safety fines totalled £20.6 million, compared to £14.4 million in February 2015 to August 2015 (please note that these costs may in fact be significantly higher as the data does not include sentences imposed in cases prosecuted by local authorities).
In the past few weeks 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.
It seems that for medium sized businesses fines are now routinely hitting the £1m point, indeed it has been argued that under the new Sentencing Guidelines ‘very large businesses’ (those with a turnover in excess of £50m) may see fines as high as £100m becoming common place.
Now may be the time to review your current board level arrangements for health and safety, ensure that you are treating it with the importance it deserves and documenting the good practice you have in place. Consider a Gap Analysis from one of our experts as a good place to start.