Annually over 600,000 workers sustain injuries following workplace accidents. Statistics also show that HSE prosecutions of directors and individuals following serious workplace incidents are on the increase. Data taken from the HSE in 2013-14 indicates that they also have a successful conviction rate in their prosecutions of 94%.
From early 2016 there will be new sentencing guidelines in force which could prove to be extremely costly for businesses as they will now take into account the offence, the circumstances of the offence and also the turnover of the offender to decide on the appropriates sentence and fines. The fines imposed under the new guidelines will be substantially higher than they are currently and will be directly linked to the company turnover. This could result in large companies with a high turnover receiving extremely large financial penalties. The new guidelines also propose a starting point of 26 weeks custodial sentence for individuals who are convicted of negligent conduct in the highest category of harm cases such as death or catastrophic injury and these will no longer be given suspended prison sentences. Courts will also be encouraged to adjust starting points for fines if there are any aggravating factors involved such as cost cutting at the expense of health and safety. Individuals within a company with or without managerial responsibilities will also now be personally liable and will be subject to financial penalties and imprisonment if they are convicted of a HSE offence.
It has never been more important for you as an employer to protect yourself, your company and your employees against accidents and injuries in the workplace. We cannot stress enough how essential it is to ensure that your staff are fully trained and informed of their roles and responsibilities in keeping the workplace safe. Our accredited IOSH Managing Safely course is designed for Managers and Supervisors and will ensure they are fully up to speed on the practical actions that they need to take to handle Health and Safety within their teams, assess and control risks and identify hazards. It will give them the knowledge and tools they need to tackle health and safety issues that they are responsible for. Most importantly it will bring home to them just why health and safety is such an essential part of their job role. We also offer a one day Working Safely course for people at any level, in any sector who need to understand the essentials of health and safety.
Act now, take the time to have the conversation with your teams and identify the people who require training and ensure that you take the necessary steps to ensure that your company and your staff are fully prepared.