Tough health & safety law could mean imprisonment

The sentences for breaches of health and safety law have become much tougher over recent years.  The courts have levied a number of six-figure fines against companies as well handing down some prison sentences.  Although most of these are suspended, as the case below shows, some are not!

In February this year two directors were sentenced to imprisonment together with fines and cost orders totalling £590,000.  The case involved a demolition contractor who subcontracted the taking down of a roof.  The subcontractor’s employees were involved in three accidents, the last of which led to a workman falling to his death. 

The subcontractor’s director was sentenced to six years in prison and the company fined £400,000 with a costs order of £55,000.  The director of the contractor was jailed for eight months and his company fined £90,000 with a costs order of £45,000.

This case and many similar ones prove the tougher stance being taken by the courts in successful health and safety prosecutions.  

You should ensure that your procedures are up to date as it is not possible to avoid responsibility by reliance on subcontractors.

Peter Allen
01245 453813
peter.allen@birkettlong.co.uk
 

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