The impact of stricter guidelines
31 October 2017
One year on from the biggest overhaul of UK Health & Safety regulations and much has changed with the introduction of ‘unlimited’ fines for offences.
The guidelines removed the cap on fines for COSHH breaches (previously £5,000), health and safety offences (previously £20,000), environmental offences (previously £5,000) and food safety offences (previously £20,000) leaving offending companies vulnerable to eye-watering fines.
The enforcement of stricter regulations has resulted in some major changes and a record number of fines exceeding one million pounds being issued in the past year.
What are the numbers?
- Throughout 2016, the largest 20 fines totalled £38.6m, up from £4.6m in 2014
- A record number of fines exceed £1m – more than the previous 20 years combined (total 19)
- Every fortnight, there is a multi-million pound fine issued
- The largest fine for a health and safety breach was £5m
- No longer must an accident be fatal to exceed the £1m threshold
- The average fine has more than doubled (102%) since 2015.
Why directors should be extremely concerned
On top of the financial implication of the fines, 95% of health and safety cases have resulted in convictions. But the focus is shifting away from employees with cases against directors tripling. Since the introduction of the new guidelines, only one employee was prosecuted. This poses a serious issue for the directors and, if prosecution occurs, can have a detrimental effect on the business.
What should directors and owners do?
The most common health and safety risks are obvious and often swept under the carpet or ignored. Out of all health and safety incidences, 13,656 people were injured due to slips and trips and is the most common form of injury for many employees and customers.
This means that having cleaner, safer floors that are suitable for your work environment can help prevent fines and protect your business, customers and employees.
Bonasystems’s cleaning chemicals reduce the slip-risk substantially and are used by many private companies and public services to significantly reduce the risk of slips, especially in high footfall or high-risk areas.