The maximum penalties that can be imposed in a Magistrates’ Court for breaching Health & Safety legislation are a £20,000 fine and up to 12 months imprisonment. Higher penalties apply in the Crown Court!

In research undertaken by the HSE, it was estimated that the actual costs of a work-related injury is something like 10 to more than 30 times the immediate costs; the so-called ‘Injury-cost iceberg’.

Examples of the hidden and unseen costs of accidents include:

  • Missed deadlines that could result in cancelled or lost orders.
  • Lost production time, such as the time taken to investigate the accident.
  • The cost of replacement parts or materials or repairing damaged equipment.
  • Personal injury claims that could lead to increased insurance premiums.
  • Poor workplace morale and bad publicity.
  • Prosecution costs, such as a fine.
  • Other costs, such as training new operatives, repairing damaged machinery, etc.

In many cases, the potential to incur such costs can be significantly reduced (or even avoided) if hazards and risks are assessed and proper workplace Health & Safety controls are put in place.

Health & Safety legislation is now based on a ‘goal-setting’ and risk assessment and risk management approach making it more difficult to determine when something is right.

Businesses often face similar problems when dealing with Health & Safety, such as:

  • It is not always clear what must be done or how it must be achieved.
  • There may be limited resources available for Health & Safety.
  • Health & Safety is often seen as an added or unnecessary burden.

In addition, the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 require an employer to appoint a ‘competent person’ to provide them with Health & Safety assistance.

Workplace Health & Safety is not just about reducing the incidence of work-related injuries or occupational ill-health, nor is it simply about the complying with the Law, it is simply that:

Good Health & Safety makes good business sense!’