UK Sentencing Council Logo

On 01 February 2016, the Sentencing Council’s Definitive Guideline for Health and Safety Offences came into force in England and Wales.

In a nutshell, the way in which fines are calculated changed. Companies found to be offending health and safety law now faced fines judged on "turnover; profit before tax; directors’ remuneration, loan accounts and pension provision; and assets as disclosed by the balance sheet”.

One year on, we take a look at what impact, if any, these changes have had. Have there been any significant changes?

The short answer is, yes, there have been many changes, and it is fair to say that the new guidelines have been followed and implemented efficiently and diligently. Rather than break this down into large sentences, let’s look at an infographic highlighting some of the impact these changes have had (click on the image for a larger version, or right click/save as to download a copy. Please feel free to share this infographic):

UK Sentencing Guidelines Infographic 
As you can see, there has definitely been an impact. So what next for organizations? How can companies protect themselves as best as possible? Osborne Clarke and IOSH have the following advice:

  1. Lead health and safety from the top and ensure a suitable health and safety governance structure is in place within your business.
  2. Check whether your ‘competent person’ in the business has health and safety competencies that are fit for purpose for your organisation.
  3. Ensure all health and safety risks are properly identified and assessed in written risk assessments. Consider using a risk register to manage timely reviews
  4. Review how health and safety risks and safe working procedures are managed operationally.
  5. Check that procedures are being followed and risks managed, and act to make changes as needed.

Essentially, now (more than ever!) is the time to get ‘buy in’ from the board if your team is understaffed or needs training and new systems to carry out the role of HS&E more efficiently. Visit our downloads page and grab a copy of our Building a Business Case for EHS Software whitepaper, or contact us to see how we can help.


  • Steve Hunter

    Steve joined Pro-Sapien in 2015 and has a particular passion for writing about EHS with a fun slant - your favorite Pro-Sapien articles are probably of his authoring!

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