The median fine for health and safety offences for large organisations increased almost 15-fold following the February 2016 arrival of the revised Sentencing Guideline for Health and Safety Offences, according to an impact assessment carried out by the Sentencing Council.
Its analysis of court fines levied in the 16 months prior to the Guideline, compared to the 16 month period after it took effect, saw the median fine increase from just £25,000 to £370,800.
For medium-sized organisations, there was a five-fold increase, with the median fine increasing from £20,000 to £100,000.
Average fines for micro and small organisations also increased, although the stated aim of the revised Guideline was to increase the financial penalties for larger organisations.
In this group, the median fine rose from £20,100 to £45,200.
The analysis looked at 161 pre-Guideline cases and 129 post-Guideline cases.
The increase in fines for smaller organisations was one unexpected finding of the impact assessment, according to the Sentencing Council, which was also surprised to find that fines for individuals, sentenced under Section 7 of the Health and Safety at Work Act, had also increased by an “unanticipated” amount.