Saf Health Work.  2018 Dec;9(4):388-397. 10.1016/j.shaw.2018.01.004.

Analysis of Penalties Imposed on Organisations for Breaching Safety and Health Regulations in the United Kingdom

Affiliations
  • 1School of Energy, Construction & Environment, Faculty of Engineering and Computing, Coventry, Coventry, CV1 5FB, UK. ab6887@coventry.ac.uk
  • 2School of School of Engineering, The University of Bolton, Deane Road, Bolton, BL3 5AB, UK.

Abstract

BACKGROUND
The study analyzes penalties imposed on organizations for breaching safety and health regulations. The research questions are as follows: what are the commonly breached safety and health regulations? How proportional are penalties imposed on organizations for breaching health and safety regulations in the United Kingdom?
METHODS
The study employed sequential explanatory mixed research strategies for better understanding of health and safety penalties imposed on organizations. Actual health and safety convictions and penalties data for 10 years (2006 to 2016) were obtained through the United Kingdom Health and Safety Executive (HSE) public register for convictions. Overall, 2,217 health and safety cases were analyzed amounting to total fines of £37,179,916, in addition to other wide-ranging penalties. For thorough understanding, eight interviews were conducted with industry practitioners, lawyers, and HSE officials as part of the study qualitative data.
RESULTS
Findings show that the Health and Safety at Work (HSW) Act accounted for 46% of all HSE prosecution cases in the last decade. This is nearly half of the total safety and health at work prosecutions. Moreover, there is widespread desire for organizations to comply with the HSW Act, but route fines are seen as burdensome and inimical to business growth.
CONCLUSION
A key deduction from the study reveal significant disproportionality concerning penalties imposed on organizations for breaching safety and health regulations. On aggregate, small companies tend to pay more for health and safety offenses in a ratio of 1:2 compared to large companies. The study also reveals that the HSW Act accounted for nearly half of the total safety and health at work prosecutions in the last decade.

Keyword

organizations; penalties; safety and health at work
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