Total UK safety fines triple in first year under new sentencing guideline

The first year of operation of the new sentencing guideline – which took effect on 1 February 2016 – has seen 19 fines of £1m or more, compared with three fines of £1m or more in 2015 and none in 2014. Four of these fines were also over £3m. 

The figures examining the past three years have been compiled by IOSH and law firm Osborne Clarke and form part of a report called Health and safety sentencing guidelines one year on.

They show that the largest 20 fines imposed for health and safety offences last year cost the businesses involved a total of £38.6m.

In comparison, the largest 20 fines in 2015 and 2014 cost £13.5m and £4.3m respectively.

The largest fine in 2016 was £5m, handed to Merlin Entertainments after five people were seriously hurt in a rollercoaster crash at its Alton Towers theme park.

This was two-and-a-half times the size of the largest fine in 2015 and almost ten times larger than the biggest fine in 2014.

The analysis also shows that the £38.5m total from the highest 20 fines in 2016 was higher than the total fine income received by the Treasury for the 660 prosecutions that the HSE successfully brought in its reporting year of 2015–2016 (£38.3m).

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