Understanding the impact of Health and Safety sentencing guidelines


Since the introduction of the Sentencing Council’s guidelines on health and safety offences, corporate manslaughter and food safety and hygiene offences in February 2016, there has been a spate of prosecutions and increasingly high financial penalties hitting businesses across England, Wales and Scotland*.

The repercussions have been swift and significant, with fines reaching record levels and businesses often finding themselves unprepared for the penalties enforced on them. 

As we approach the first anniversary of the introduction of the guidelines, Bureau Veritas is urging employers to be aware of some of the common compliance issues in the workplace that can be easily rectified, and reminds businesses that something doesn’t have to go wrong in order to receive a fine – as failure to demonstrate compliance is a common cause for prosecution.  

Bureau Veritas lists some of its top tips towards ensuring compliance: 

•   Develop a positive procurement strategy. For example, buying ‘quiet’ or ‘low vibration’ equipment, or where practicable reducing exposure through engineering or procedural measures

•   Keep appropriate records of all regular procedures, including maintenance, inspection and testing activities – and make sure these are updated as a matter of course

•   Ensure a suitable programme of staff training to ensure employees are suitably informed and have the required level of knowledge needed to both protect themselves and achieve compliance

•   Always provide appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and necessary training when relevant, along with any guidelines around limiting exposure to potential hazards such as noise and vibration

•   Enlist the services of an independent provider of Testing, Inspection and Certification (TIC) services such as Bureau Veritas, to help you stay on top of health and safety obligations

Bureau Veritas is able to offer a full scale of consultative services to a wide range of clients across varied industry sectors; with the common goal of achieving compliance with legislation and best practice. 

For further information, call us on 0345 600 1828.  

*The Sentencing Council’s guidelines were implemented in England and Wales as of 1st February 2016 but are also used as standard in Scotland  

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