SAFETY ALERT: February 2016 | New Sentencing Guidelines

New Sentencing Guidelines – How does it affect you?


The new Sentencing Guidelines came into force on 1st February 2016, and now include a fines structure based upon an organisations turnover, level of culpability and the degree of harm that someone is exposed to. Your organisation doesn’t need to have a fatality or serious accident to be seriously affected. Since their introduction, four fines of £1m or more have been imposed by the courts for health & safety failings.

Magistrates now have the same sentencing powers that the Crown Courts have in certain areas, including the ability to impose up to two years imprisonment of individuals found to be responsible for serious health and safety breaches.

The Sentencing Guidelines state that “The fine must be sufficiently substantial to have a real economic impact which will bring home to both management and shareholders the need to comply with health and safety legislation”.

What does it mean for you?

If you’re found not to be effectively managing health and safety which puts people are at risk, you could be more heavily fined or even imprisoned. It’s true that the headlines are captured by these heavier fines imposed upon larger organisations, however, organisations of all sizes could be affected by this change in legislation. As a result, smaller organisations could be fined in excess of 10% of their turnover. Organisations who find themselves in court will be required to provide information on their turnover, profit levels, director’s remuneration and assets held to enable a decision to be made on the level of fines to be imposed.

The CDM Regulations 2015 have now been in place for almost a year and the HSE be looking more closely at their implementation, so those involved with defined roles will find themselves under greater scrutiny and at greater risk if they have not upskilled their staff and reviewed their management arrangements appropriately.

How can SRC help?

No matter whether you are a developer, a design practice or a contractor; as construction project safety specialists with a proven track record on a variety of projects, Steel River Consultants are best placed to support you, whether it be for an individual project, a development programme, management of a property portfolio or your day to day corporate undertaking.


Issued by C.G Lawson: SRC

© Steel River Consultants Ltd – 2016

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