Possibly the most dramatic change in health and safety law means that trends are moving towards prosecuting individuals as well as organisations for breaches of H&S legislation in the workplace. If you have ‘real authority’ or have ‘responsibility to decide corporate policy’ then you may be caught out for a breach under this legislation. Since the introduction of the new Sentencing Guidelines, a H&S Consultant and a Director have received custodial sentences of 9 months and 8 months respectively, for breaches of H&S legislation. Once it has been proven that the wrongdoing was due to an ‘individuals consent or connivance’ or due to their neglect, then prosecutions will follow. You need to know what your H&S responsibilities are – this is where Leading safely comes into its own. Senior managers can find themselves at the front-line of an investigation just because they were ‘in charge’ when things went wrong – we have seen this in the press recently on many occasions with devastating consequences for those individuals. However – acquitted defendants may only be able to recover a small percentage of their legal costs in limited circumstances. Managers and safety professionals, especially those in high-risk industries, should also consider how they would get specialist legal advice and fund their defence if they were to be prosecuted. Why risk unlimited fines and possible custodial sentences? Ask Chambers & Young about this short half day session for your senior team and let IOSH Leading safely help to show you the way.
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