Lower accident rate leads to fewer HSE prosecutions

A decline in accidents and ill health at work is resulting in fewer companies being prosecuted, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has said.

In figures for 2004-05, the HSE brought 712 prosecutions, securing convictions in 95% of cases, and served 8,445 enforcement notices.

The average fine per case rose £4,462 to £18,765, for 2004-05. Average fines from higher courts, per offence prosecuted, rose to £46,388 from £32,216 in 2003-04, it said.

The average fines in the lower court rose to £4,767 from £4,052 the previous year.

Acting chief executive, Justin McCracken, said: “This year’s figures show we have prosecuted in fewer cases and served fewer notices than in previous years.”

The reasons for this were a combination of a decline in the number of accidents and reported ill health and better targeting of resources, meaning fewer incidents were investigated, but that a greater proportion led to prosecution, he added.

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