Number of directors prosecuted by HSE trebles in a year - report
31 October 2016
The UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecuted 46 company directors for health and safety offences in the year to 31 March 2016, against 15 in the previous year, according to research by Clyde & Co quoted by SHP Online. In contrast, the number of employees who were prosecuted by the HSE in 2015/16 has fallen from 10 in the previous year, to just one.
SHP Online quoted Chris Morrison, partner and UK head of safety, health and environment at Clyde & Co, as saying that according to research into the 46 prosecutions in 2015/16, 34 were found guilty and 12 were given prison sentences, with the longest prison sentence imposed at two years.
Clyde said the data confirmed that the HSE was increasingly willing to prosecute the most senior individuals within a business, and was virtually ignoring employees who are frequently more culpable.
Following the introduction of the sentencing guidelines in February this year, the value of fines imposed by the HSE is also on the rise. The total value of fines imposed has risen by 43% compared to the same period last year.
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.
Clyde & Co have suggested that the real figure is likely to be higher than the data suggests, as the HSE figures do not include sentences imposed in cases prosecuted by local authorities.
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