Manufacturing & Construction Sectors Take Hit on Sentencing Guidelines

A new report from law firm Clyde & Co reveals the manufacturing and construction sectors have “borne the brunt” of the new sentencing guidelines with total fines jointly rising by 93%.Total penalties for the two sectors combined came to £35.7m in the year to 31 January 2017, compared to £18.5m in the year before the guideline came into force on 1 February 2016.

The research also found that 46 company directors and senior managers were prosecuted by the HSE – mainly drawn from the construction and manufacturing sectors – compared to just 15 in the previous year.

Rhian Greaves, Head of Compliance and Strategic Support at Clyde & Co’s safety, health and environment team, said: “The floodgates are open with more fines exceeding £1m this year than in the previous 15 years combined."

“Companies should be concerned that fines are now routinely hitting the £1m mark, even in apparently less serious cases, meaning that all breaches of health and safety law are now a serious threat to a company's bottom line.”

However, the supporting survey behind the report showed the guidelines are widely supported by health and safety professionals and regulatory lawyers. Some 90% said that they backed the approach being taken by the courts, and 77% said that fines were now more proportionate to the means of the offender. Nearly half (47%) said that the guidelines had made a positive impact on their business, while no one said that it had had a negative impact.

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