The care sector paid for more than a fifth (21%) of health and safety fines in cases prosecuted by local authorities, according to new research.
The research by global law firm Clyde & Co revealed that the care sector paid £3.2m in fines due to breaches of health and safety law in the first year of the new sentencing guideline (year end 31 January 2017).
Rhian Greaves, Head of Compliance & Strategic Support in Clyde & Co’s Safety, Health & Environment team, said: “Health & Safety is now a top priority for the boardroom. Our research confirms what we have been seeing in practice – the new sentencing guidelines are biting hard.
“The percentage increase in fines in the local authority enforced sectors is staggering. While relatively few prosecutions have been pursued in the first year of the Guideline, the cases that have passed through the courts have reinforced the dramatic effect the new sentencing regime is having on defendant organisations.
“Although 83% of councils took no prosecutions at all, we know that local authorities have a 95% conviction rate when they do take action so the consequences of receiving a summons are considerable.”
New sentencing guidance introduced on the 1 February 2016 toughened penalties for health and safety and corporate manslaughter offences.
Under the new approach, the scale of fines varies according to the turnover of the company but can exceed £20m for the very worst cases involving corporate manslaughter, and potentially more for the largest companies.
Clyde & Co says that the range of fines imposed by local authorities on the care sector ranged from £3,500 through to £1.6m.
Maria Mallaband Care and Embrace All Limited received two of the largest fines of the year at £1.6m and £1.5m, respectively, both as a result of the death of an elderly resident.