The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) have released their latest data on prosecutions in their publication ‘Enforcement in Great Britain 2016’.

The data shows that in comparison to 2015:

  • Prosecutions (total 696) have risen by 6%, with a conviction rate of 95%.
  • Service of prohibition notices and improvement notices has decreased by 8%.
  • There has been a three-fold increase in the prosecutions of company directors and senior managers, from 15 to 46 prosecutions.
  • Fines remain the most common type of sentence, however prison sentences are still imposed for serious offences. Landlords beware! 45% of sentences are for breaches of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998. It’s all too easy to forget the annual gas safety check.

The costs of not implementing a robust health and safety plan have increased significantly. Since the introduction in early 2016 of the Sentencing Councils’ guidelines, there have been 14 cases resulting in fines of £1 million or more. The largest fine being the well-known case at Alton Towers, where a rollercoaster crashed in June 2015 and led to a £5 million fine being handed to Merlin Attractions.

The size of the fine handed out is linked to the size of the company at fault, the level of turnover, the culpability of the company and its directors, and the extent of the harm caused.

If you do receive a visit from the HSE, there can be a cost on the day. In 2012, the HSE introduced a self-funding programme known as the Fee For Intervention (FFI) scheme. This allows the HSE to recover the costs of carrying out its regulatory functions from those found to be in material breach of health and safety law. These hourly rates continue to rise, increasing 4% in April 2016. The latest figures show that an average visit comes with an invoice of £675.

It is therefore advisable to get your health and safety plan in place – and ensure that it is reviewed regularly.

To gain our advice on the issues in this article or any other rural planning and development matters, call Richard Edge or Alex Orttewell on 01935 852170 or email