Bigger fines coming for safety breaches

30 Nov 2015

For many, health and safety legislation has become the butt of thousands of jokes, but for the 5,000 plus people that have been saved as a result of legislation, it certainly is no laughing matter.

With the Sentencing Council for England & Wales recently issuing updated guidelines to come into effect 1 February, BLM partner Jamie Varney has written in The Scotsman, looking at the possible impact the updated guidelines could have in Scotland, given that previous guidelines have been referred to in Scottish courts.

“The new guidelines introduced a stepped approach to sentencing, with a judge first assessing the seriousness of an offence and then placing it in a category, based on “culpability” and “harm”. A corporate body’s “culpability” will range from the very high, which includes a deliberate and intentional breach of the law, through to low, where an organisation just falls short of the standard expected.

“Scottish companies and organisations should prepare themselves for significantly higher fines if they’re found guilty of breaching the law. Ultimately it is hoped that such fines will act as a deterrent, forcing companies to spend money on improving health and safety rather than paying the penalty in court.”

You can read Jamie’s article in full on The Scotsman website.

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Disclaimer: This document does not present a complete or comprehensive statement of the law, nor does it constitute legal advice. It is intended only to highlight issues that may be of interest to customers of BLM. Specialist legal advice should always be sought in any particular case.

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