New sentencing guidelines that are likely to result in tougher penalties for more serious offenders in corporate manslaughter and criminal health and safety cases have now come into force.
The move is being welcomed by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), which hopes the guidelines will help prevent future offences and accidents at work by ensuring health and safety breaches are punished fairly and proportionately.
The Sentencing Council guidelines are aimed at firms which ignore legislation designed to keep workers safe or don’t implement procedures in a bid to save themselves money.
The guidance brings penalties for health and safety breaches into line with those for environmental and other corporate offences.
‘Move will prevent safety short-cuts’
RoSPA’s occupational safety and health policy adviser, Dr Karen McDonnell, says some offenders, such as big organisations that commit serious offences, will now be given bigger penalties.
Hopefully, the prospect of harsher penalties will stop organisations being tempted to risk their employees’ lives by taking short-cuts when it comes to health and safety.
The guidelines will also see guilty organisations’ means and culpability taken into account before they are sentenced.
The Sentencing Council says it has introduced the changes as some offenders have not been given a sentence that properly reflects the crimes which they have committed.
Date Published: February 21, 2016
Author: Jonathan Brown