New workplace sentencing guidelines a wake-up call

Published:  24 February, 2016

New guidelines for sentences imposed on companies for death and injury in the workplace should serve as a serious wake-up call for companies, says Licence Bureau.

Since February 1, tougher sentences were in place for those that have breached health and safety regulations resulting in serious injury or death. The move is aimed at influencing companies who do not prioritise high standards of health and safety throughout their organisation.

These will see companies handed tougher financial penalties, graded on company size, turnover, culpability and the level of harm caused to the victim(s). Individuals should also be reminded of the fines and jail sentences they could face should they contravene any health and safety regulations under Section 33 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

Licence Bureau, the independent compliance management provider, is urging fleets and their drivers to fully understand the new guidelines in order to mitigate risk of serious prosecution for their company or drivers should an incident occur.

These guidelines are especially important for Operator Licence Holders. Breaching health and safety regulations that result in fines or prison terms could lead to licences being refused, leading to further reputational and financial repercussions.

For health and safety best practice, all fleets should be thoroughly investigating any incidents that occur when an employee is driving on business, as if they were making a RIDDOR (Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013) report, despite these not being required by the Health and Safety Executive.

‘The onus is on both employer and employee to ensure health and safety in the workplace is kept to a high standard,' said Malcolm Maycock, managing director of Licence Bureau.

'Both have a moral duty not to place the company at risk by violating basic rules.Use of a mobile phone while driving is a prime example; we have recently seen drivers convicted of causing death by dangerous driving and given lengthy custodial sentences. But their employers seem to be doing little about it.

'These revised guidelines should serve as a serious wake-up call for the consequences for companies and individuals should an incident occur.'

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