Tougher penalties for those who flout health and safety law
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has welcomed new legislation (The Health and Safety Offences Act 2008) which will increase penalties imposed on anyone who flouts health and safety law.
The Act increases the maximum penalties imposed by the lower courts for breaching health and safety law from £5,000 to £20,000 and broader terms have been included for which an individual can be imprisoned.
The main driving factor behind the Act was the increase in people being prosecuted for breaching health and safety regulations. It was felt that the level of fines was too low and not an adequate deterrent for individuals and businesses.
Because the maximum penalty for lower courts has been increased and with the option of now being sent to prison, more cases can be dealt with in the lower courts and should see justice be faster and more efficient.
The Act received Royal Assent on 16 October and will come into force 3 months time, in January 2009.