Will new HSE director mean more prosecutions for Health and Safety breaches?

Last month, the HSE began the search for its new Director of Legal Services. This is interesting because this is a brand new position that has been created at the organisation following the HSE’s recent Chief Executive-led review.

The HSE said the new role was pivotal and would contribute to directly to public confidence in the HSE and in the wider justice system.

The new role will be filled by a qualified barrister or solicitor with considerable post-qualification experience, an extensive prosecutorial background in regulatory prosecutions, experience of leading a team of caseworkers and experience of managing external legal providers.

So, why is this of interest to businesses? Essentially, because this new director will review the HSE’s enforcement activities and lead its prosecution capability.

It has been noted in the press that the number of successful prosecutions carried out by the HSE has dropped in recent years. Whilst in 2018-19 the HSE still prosecuted hundreds of cases for breaches its figures were down 44% on 2015-16.

In a story on the new role in Construction News, an HSE spokesman was quoted as saying the role has been created to lead one of the HSE’s core functions through a period of change and was not a direct response to past or future changes in prosecution numbers – it has a much broader remit.

However, given the drop in prosecution statistics during recent years and the fact the new director will have an extensive prosecutorial background it’s unsurprising that the media have speculated the organisation is looking to boost its prosecution figures.

What can businesses face if they are found guilty of breaching Health and Safety Law?

Firms which are found to be breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 can find themselves facing prosecution. Their operations may be suspended and they can face fines ranging from hundreds of pounds to millions of pounds. Less well known is the fact that individuals at the company, such as company owners and directors, can also be taken to court. If they are successfully prosecuted, they may end up having to pay court costs and fines and, in some instances, may even receive prison sentences.

How do I protect myself and my company from prosecution?

Getting to grips with complex Health and Safety legislation can be a real challenge for company owners and directors. However, if they don’t manage the situation and a breach occurs people can get injured or killed and companies may not survive the ensuing prosecution.

About 97% of businesses will never fully get on top of their Health and Safety responsibilities which is why Acorn Safety Services offers a range of services to help businesses fulfil their legal requirements.

The wide range of services that we offer include fire risk assessments, construction health and safety inspections and audits and asbestos services. Our site inspection service alone reduces, if not eliminates, the possibility of the HSE issuing notices for enforcement. We also act as CDM consultants and as a firm’s retained health and safety consultant. Firms who take up our retained health and safety service can rest assured that they will become fully health and safety compliant and as a result protected from prosecutions, fines and prison sentences. We do all the hard work for them without them having to shoulder the cost of a full-time employee.

To protect your company and your team from Health and Safety breaches and the risk of prosecution visit https://acornhealthandsafety.co.uk/ or contact us at info@acornhealthandsafety.co.uk or on 01604 930380.

Need help with Health and Safety? Request a call back!

Request a call back from one of our expert Health and Safety Consultants who can help you whatever your health and safety, CDM or fire risk needs.

More Health and Safety Articles & News

health & safety is needless red ape

Health & Safety is just needless red tape, right?

By Ian Stone | 15th December 2020

We know that Health & Safety is not everyone’s favourite topic. Often, it’s accompanied by much head scratching and sighing as firms try to get to grips with what they see as needless red tape. Whilst firms can often feel like they are drowning in regulations if they fail to follow the rules correctly they …

Read moreHealth & Safety is just needless red tape, right?

health & safety statistics

Don’t become a Health & Safety statistic

By Neil Munro | 8th December 2020

We are very proud to have our main headquarters in Northampton. It is a great place for our staff to live and work and we are proud to be a part of the vibrant business community here. So, we were saddened to read the latest statistics for the numbers of injuries that took place at …

Read moreDon’t become a Health & Safety statistic

Don’t become complacent about Covid-19

Don’t become complacent about Covid-19

By Ian Stone | 1st December 2020

It is amazing how quickly we can adapt to change. A year ago, you would never expect to be walking around your local supermarket surrounded by people wearing face masks but how many of us now even give it a second’s thought? The problem is many of us have become so used to the new …

Read moreDon’t become complacent about Covid-19

health and safety priority

Stark reminder why Health & Safety needs to be a priority

By Neil Munro | 24th November 2020

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) recently released the details of a very sad case which was a stark reminder as to why Health & Safety should always be a priority in the workplace. Solar panel company Blue Sun Energy Limited was sentenced in November for safety breaches after a self-employed labourer fell through a …

Read moreStark reminder why Health & Safety needs to be a priority

Construction health and safety inspections

Have you thought about Health & Safety recently?

By Ian Stone | 10th November 2020

Health & Safety can feel like a minefield for many businesses. Bosses fear visits from the dreaded Health & Safety inspector and worry about becoming embroiled in endless reams of red tape. Firms regularly become frustrated with ever-increasing workloads landing on their desks because the Government keeps on adding more and more Health & Safety …

Read moreHave you thought about Health & Safety recently?

Pre-Construction Advice

Pre-construction advice

By Neil Munro | 27th October 2020

Pre-construction information is health and safety information that is already in the client’s possession or which is reasonably obtainable. It provides a basis for the preparation of the Construction Phase Plan (CPP).  It must be relevant, have an appropriate level of detail and be proportionate given the nature of risks to health or safety involved …

Read morePre-construction advice

Construction Phase Plan

What is a Construction Phase Plan?

By Ian Stone | 20th October 2020

In this blog we are going to look at what is a Construction Phase Plan. The Construction Phase Plan must set out the arrangements for securing health and safety, including site rules, whilst construction work is taking place. It must take into account the information the project’s Principal Designer holds such as the pre-construction information …

Read moreWhat is a Construction Phase Plan?

CDM for self builders

How does Construction (Design & Management) Regulations 2015 apply to Self Builders?

By Neil Munro | 13th October 2020

Everyone in the construction industry is obliged to comply with the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 (CDM 2015). These regulations set out what people involved in construction work need to do to protect themselves – and anyone the work affects – from harm. These regulations also apply to self builders although the degree to …

Read moreHow does Construction (Design & Management) Regulations 2015 apply to Self Builders?

Principal Designer

What should construction clients look for in a Principal Designer?

By Ian Stone | 6th October 2020

A Principal Designer is appointed by the client to have control over a project’s Pre-Construction Phase. The Principal Designer can be an organisation – or on a smaller project an individual – that has: A technical knowledge of the construction industry which is relevant to the project The understanding and skills to manage and coordinate …

Read moreWhat should construction clients look for in a Principal Designer?

Principal Contractor

Could we be your Principal Contractor?

By Neil Munro | 29th September 2020

Acorn Safety Services is a full-service consultancy which has been established with the objective of meeting clients’ diverse health and safety needs within the workplace and helping them to be compliant with statutory health and safety regulations. Regardless of your requirement for CDM Client, Principal Designer or Principal Contractor services, retained health and safety consultancy, …

Read moreCould we be your Principal Contractor?