Statistics released by the HSE confirmed that prosecutions in Scotland following alleged breaches of health and safety legislation are sharply increasing. In the last year the Crown prosecuted 72 such cases in Scotland, representing a 49% increase on the previous year. Prosecutions had a 97% successful conviction rate.
This is against the background of 142 workers being fatally injured in the UK during 2014/15 – an increase of 4.4% from the previous year. In the previous five years the numbers had been reducing. Non-fatal employee injuries continued on a downward trend with a 3.3% drop from the previous year.
Pursuing perceived health and safety breaches is clearly an increasing priority for the authorities and it would not be unexpected to see prosecution levels being maintained or increased in the coming year. With fines for breaches also increasing and the establishment of the new Scottish Sentencing Council, should businesses need another reminder to prioritise health and safety – this is it.
For any assistance with compliance with health and safety legislation, or if faced with prosecution please contact one of the team here.
On November 3, 2015