16/12/19

Health and Safety Offences | Sentencing

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As can be seen from reports appearing in previous articles on this website, breaches of Health and Safety Law are regularly attracting severe sentences for both the defaulting companies and their directors.

John Veale of Kangs Solicitors Comments generally.

Sentencing Examples

Company director

  • A company director was imprisoned for ten months following an accident which resulted in the death of a fellow worker.

Companies

  • A global logistics firm was fined almost two and a half million pounds following a collapse of tyres which resulted in the death an employee.
  • A ferry operator was fined four hundred thousand pounds as the result of an employee having suffered a severe injury.

Court Sentencing Guidelines

Directors/individuals

  • As can be seen from the example above, individuals may well be sentenced to imprisonment.  
  • Individuals tried on indictment, before a Crown Court, face a maximum prison sentence of two years and/or an unlimited fine and those tried summarily, before a Magistrates’ Court, face a maximum prison sentence of six months and or an unlimited fine.
  • A director may also be disqualified from acting as a director for such period as the court may determine.

Companies

  • Companies increasingly incur financial penalties which are imposed by the courts with the intention of creating a substantial impact
  • The fines imposed on companies varies according to turnover with large companies defined as those having a turnover of at least fifty million pounds and micro companies being those having a turnover not exceeding two million pounds
  • Sentencing Guidelines provide complicated tables designed to assist the courts in the calculation of the appropriate fines
  • Courts should, inter alia, have regard to the profitability of the defaulting company and whether any economic benefit was derived from the offence being prosecuted

Individuals, when tried on indictment can face a maximum prison sentence of 2 years and/or an unlimited fine. When tried summarily can face a maximum prison sentence of 6 months and or an unlimited fine

Sentences are again based on culpability and harm category, with fines being calculated at various bands based on percentages of weekly salary.

  • Band A is 50% of weekly income with a range of 25-75% of relevant weekly income
  • Ranging up to band F is 600% of weekly income with a range of 500-700% of weekly income

An individual with very high culpability and harm category 1 will face a prison sentence with a starting point of 18 months, with a range of 1 to 2 years, and or a band F fine. At the other end of the scale, with low culpability and harm category 4 an individual will face a band A fine with a range of conditional discharge to band A fine

How Can We Assist?

KANGS fields a team of solicitors experienced in assisting clients facing health and safety prosecutions from the initial investigation/interview stage right through to trial proceedings in court.

If we can be of assistance, our Team is available via telephone 0333 370 4333 and by email info@kangssolicitors.co.uk.

We provide initial no obligation discussion at our three offices in London, Birmingham and Manchester.

Alternatively, discussions can be held virtually through live conferencing or telephone.

Hamraj Kang

Hamraj Kang
Senior Partner

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John Veale

John Veale
Partner

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