Press Release (ePRNews.com) - ASHTEAD, England - Jan 11, 2017 - New sentencing guidelines were introduced in February 2016 relating to health and safety, food safety and corporate manslaughter offences that happened on or after 12 March 2015. They followed a consultation in 2015 and are designed to provide judges with a starting point for fines for companies that commit health and safety offences.
Alistair Bromhead Ltd is a national provider of training courses in manual handling and other areas of health and safety. Company leader and renowned health, safety and environmental expert Dr Alistair Bromhead has been looking at the implications for employers of the new guidelines.
“There is a sharp difference between the old and new regimes and large companies committing highly serious offences will face penalties that are ‘fair and proportionate to seriousness of the offence and the means of the offenders’,” he says.
Under the new guidelines, courts are now required to run an initial assessment as to the overall seriousness of the offence. This should be based on the offender’s culpability and the risk of serious harm, whether or not any harm was actually caused.
There is a range of possible fines based on the seriousness of the offence and this will differ depending on the size of the organisation and its turnover or equivalent. Mitigating factors can be taken into account and the guidelines include a list of such, which include a previously unblemished record or evidence of steps having been taken to remedy the flaws that led to the incident, as well as the degree of co-operation with the investigation.
Contrary to this, there is also a list of aggravating features for the judge to consider, which may include a history of similar offences, or whether financial gain was associated with the breach.
Company directors who are found guilty of ‘consent, connivance or neglect’ will be subject to unlimited fines and prison sentences of up to two years. Previously only the crown court could levy unlimited fines, but these are now possible in the magistrates’ courts.
The implications for employers of workers who undertake manual handling tasks as part of their roles is something that Dr Bromhead is keen to communicate.
“The scale of the potential fines and sentences for breach of health and safety guidelines means that companies should be focusing attention on getting their houses in order with regard to undertaking site-specific risk assessments for manual handling risks and ensuring that manual handling training plays a fundamental role,” he says.
“Manual handling training courses are a cost effective way to ensure staff are properly trained in all aspects of the handling they are expected to undertake. Considering the potential fines associated with getting it wrong, such a course is guaranteed to deliver a return.”
The Alistair Bromhead Ltd manual handler training course (http://www.abromhead.co.uk/manual-handler-training.asp) is provided by highly experienced trainers and it can be fully tailored to suit the specific needs of individual companies as well as being held onsite so that the precise risks that are faced by the handlers are covered. The course is suitable for individual and team handling situations and includes interactive, practical handling exercises that cover a range of representative loads. Other courses are offered including the manual handling risk assessor certificate course and a City & Guilds accredited manual handling train the trainer course.
The courses are available throughout the UK. To find out more or to check availability email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0800 710 1099. Source :
Alistair Bromhead Ltd