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Will new guidelines improve health and safety compliance?

Zahra Nanji and Andrew Cooper consider the sentencing guidance, including the requirement to classify organisations according to turnover when assessing the level of fines

24 March 2016

The new sentencing guidelines for
health and safety offences, corporate manslaughter, and food safety and hygiene offences published by the Sentencing Council (SC) are now in force and will apply to organisations and individual offenders aged
18 and older who are sentenced on or after
1 February 2016, regardless of the date of the offence.

The guidelines allow for substantially higher fines to be imposed on organisations that are found to be in breach of health and safety law, with a range of factors to be taken into account when the courts are considering the appropriate level of the penalty, including the size of the organisation, the culpability of the offender,
and the risk of harm created by the breach.

The new guidance is expected to substantially increase the fines being issued for breaches of health and safety law, particularly for large organisations.

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