The majority of health and safety court cases carried out by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) between 2009 and 2014 held a 94% conviction rate.
This translates to a total of 562 convictions on average per year.
Factors such as the industry it occured in and the severity of the offence had a major effect on the maximum penalties for health and safety violations.
For example, gas safety offences had one of the highest conviction rates in the year 2013/14, but the lowest fines – at just £919 per claim.
In the gas sector, there were problems with the high number of penalties received, with fines for 2013/14 totalling £149,000 across the UK.
On the other hand, the utility industry may have received the lowest number of convictions; however, it had one of the highest fines at £59,629 per claim.
Likewise, offences related to explosives are very rare, but can incur fines of £200,000 if corporations aren’t following the law.
The majority of fines occur when gas appliances are faulty, poorly serviced or badly fitted, and, according to HSE data, are usually the work of an unregistered fitter. The majority of fines are also related to in areas such as carbon monoxide poising, explosions and fires.
Benefits of good health and safety
Companies can benefit from a strong safety regime in a number of ways; not only will their reputation within the industry be improved, but the company may also begin to see an increase in profits because of the reduction in sick days taken.
Although it may be impossible to completely eradicate accidents in the gas sector, it is the company’s legal and moral responsibility to put every measure in place to ensure they do not happen.
Safety regulations are changed annually, and so in order to avoid unexpected fines it is vital that companies follow the rules and regularly update their health and safety schemes.