Health and safety fines increased five-fold on average in the year following the introduction of the new sentencing guidelines for judges and magistrates, says Neal Stone.

On 4 April the Sentencing Council for England and Wales published an assessment of the impact of its Definitive Guideline for Health and Safety Offences, Corporate Manslaughter and Food Safety and Hygiene Offences which came into force in February 2016. As the assessment notes: “For health and safety offences there has been a considerable increase in fine amounts for larger organisations since the guideline came into force, which was anticipated by the Council.”

This was not a surprise. These increases were anticipated, not only by the Sentencing Council but by the wider community either directly involved in or interested in keeping people healthy and safe at work.

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