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The cost of non-compliance

Between 2018 and 2019, the average fine for health and safety non-compliance was £150,000 — up from £148,000 in 2017/18. The single largest fine weighed in at an eye-watering £3 million, while, at approximately £54.5 million, the total value of fines levied on UK businesses over the same 12-month period was equally staggering.

This begs the question: how does the HSE determine what constitutes a serious offence under current legislation?

Typically, falls from height qualify because they often result in life-changing or fatal injuries. But the rest aren't so cut and dry. For other incidents, the HSE must take other considerations into account when assessing the severity of a compliance breach.

Recorded by the Safety and Health Practitioner, these include:

  • Cutting costs at the expense of occupational health and safety

  • Deliberately concealing illegal activity

  • A poor health and safety record

What’s interesting about these statistics is that, as recently as 2016, the cost of making an organisation compliant with UK regulations ranged between £5000-£40,000. Firms could save £75,000 in avoidable financial penalties if they implement the basic health and safety measures that would help them remain compliant.

Factor in the legal costs and inevitable personal injury claims that accompany a compliance breach, and the potential savings will be even greater.


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