It’s been on the cards for some time and it’s now with us here in the UK. Under tougher sentencing guidelines proposed in November, large firms convicted of corporate manslaughter will face fines of up to £20m.
The Sentencing Council announced that the review of guidelines is taking place in part due to concerns that some sentences imposed for these offences have been too low, particularly in relation to large organisations convicted of the most serious health and safety and food safety offences.
In 2013/14 in the UK, 133 people were killed at work and 70 members of the public fatally injured in accidents connected to work, according to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
However, to date, there have been only eight convictions for corporate manslaughter in England and Wales since the legislation was introduced in 2007. The largest fine issued thus far was handed down just a few weeks ago when a company was found guilty of corporate manslaughter and fined £500,000 following the death of an employee.
Given the fact that £500,000 is the biggest fine handed out so far, it is evident that the proposals from the Sentencing Council to substantially increase the fines are set to shake things up and ensure that companies start to take health and safety more seriously.
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