Hike of 148% in Health & Safety fines

Research shows UK organisations paid over £55 million in Health & Safety fines last year. That’s a hike of 148% on the 2015 figure!  

The average payout by organisations last year for Health & Safety failings was £211,000. That’s more than three times the 2015 average fine.

The sharp hike is the result of tougher Health & Safety sentencing guidelines introduced in February 2016. While there used to be no set penalty for Health & Safety offences, fines are now largely based on the turnover of an organisation. Courts also take into account the “culpability” (degree of fault), seriousness of an offence and likelihood of harm (in “near misses”).

Organisations with a £50m plus turnover face fines as high as £10 million for Health & Safety offences, and as much as £20 million for corporate manslaughter.

More than 19 fines were £1 million plus in 2016 compared to just two in 2015 and none in 2014.

The £5 million Alton Towers fine following the Smiler rollercoaster incident remains the record penalty. It would have been £2.5 million higher had the Alton Towers owners not pleaded guilty.

The construction sector paid the most, racking up almost £14 million in fines. Manufacturing paid £12 million followed by utilities (£8.4m), leisure (£7.4m), logistics and transport (£7.2m), industrials (£3.9m) and public sector (£2.6m).

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