New laws coming into force in January will increase the maximum fines that can be imposed on employers that breach health and safety legislation.
The Health and Safety Offences Act 2008 will raise the maximum penalties for breaching health and safety regulations imposed in the lower courts from £5,000 to £20,000. Under the new law, the range of offences for which an individual can be imprisoned will also be broadened.
The Act, which received Royal Assent in October, was welcomed by Department for Work and Pensions minister Lord McKenzie.
“It is generally accepted that the level of fines for some health and safety offences is too low,” he said. “These changes will ensure that sentences can now be more easily set at a level to deter businesses that do not take their health and safety management responsibilities seriously, and further encourage employers and others to comply with the law.”