New Health & Safety sentencing guidelines

Definitive new guidelines for corporate manslaughter, health & safety, food safety and hygiene offences were launched by the Sentencing Council at the beginning of the month. The new guidelines come into effect on the 1st of February 2016 and apply to all sentencing from that date, regardless of the date of the offence.

With the role of the client in ensuring successful health & safety management increasingly emphasised by the HSE and other law enforcement bodies (particularly by the 2015 CDM regulations) the launch of these new guidelines could have significant ramifications for clients and contractors failing to follow the requirements of the law.

The guidelines determine the stages that a sentencing court will need to follow in order to ensure a consistent, fair and proportionate approach to sentencing of corporate manslaughter, health & safety or food safety and hygiene offences in England and Wales.

Sentencing, whether of individuals or businesses will be based on the offender’s culpability and size of the company. Organisations committing serious offences, such as deliberately breaking the law and creating a high risk of death or serious injury will be sentenced in line with a standard matrix. The intent is for penalties to be fair and proportionate to the seriousness of the offence and the means of the offender, whilst ensuring that the penalties imposed act as a deterrent to breaching health & safety and food safety and hygiene legislation.

Your duty as a client is to ensure that your contractors are compliant with health & safety legislation and are capable of undertaking the work you contract to them. By having SafeContractor’s qualified and experienced auditors assess your contractors and only using those that gain accreditation, you will have a good indication that your contractors are compliant with the relevant health and safety requirements of their trades. This is a significant step in ensuring that you have effective health & safety procedures for managing contractors.

Post date: 13 Nov 2015

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