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Criminal convictions for a health and safety breach, explained



What does it mean?


A criminal case can only be brought against you by an enforcing body of health safety law, they are usually;


  • HSE - usually higher risk businesses such as construction, mining or council run premises or organisations.

  • Local Authority (known as LA's) eg. retail, office, car park.


A criminal case is one where there are crimes against the state and the purpose of a prosecution is punishment of wrongdoings.


Punishments


Below, they are split into two types of offences


Summary Offences


Hearing's for prosecutions of summary offences (usually less serious) are heard at first in a magistrates court, with possible unlimited fines/ 6 months imprisonment.


Indictable Offences


Hearing's for prosecutions of indictable offences (more serious) are heard at first in a magistrates court and should the magistrate believe there is enough evidence it will be heard in the crown court, with possible unlimited fines/ 2 years imprisonment.


Types of Law


"There are many types of law in the UK and not all are written down"


Statue Law vs Common Law


Statue laws are the written laws of the land, they are passed by parliament and come in the way of Act's and Regulations.


Common law is a body of case law, this means that decisions made by magistrates and judges in previous cases over time are used to make judicial decisions now. Despite the fact these are not written acts or regulations it 100% exists in both criminal and civil law.


Defence to these accusations


In order to form a criminal law defence the following points each have to be considered;


  • Individuals must prove they took all reasonable care

  • Employers must prove they took all reasonable foreseeable precautions

  • Due diligence must have been exercised

  • The accused must prove that it was not reasonable practicable for the employer to have done more

Should you seek advice?

"Every employer should appoint one or more competent persons to assist in managing risk"

Competent persons - Regulation 7 of the 1999 management of health and safety at work.


Every employer should appoint one or more competent persons to assist in managing risk

  • Such person should be regarded as competent where they have sufficient training, experience and knowledge to properly assist the employer.

  • The competent person shall be an employee or external person such as a consultant.


Summary


To be proactive in a good health and safety process is not just a legal requirement, but could also save you from a custodial sentence or unlimited fine! There is help available and we would be happy to give you a free assessment. Just click the link on the photo to get in touch and perhaps even sleep better tonight, knowing you and your business are not exposed.








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