In February 2016 changes to sentencing guidelines meant that fines imposed were set to increase.
Prosecution data released by the HSE shows an 80% increase in fines from 2015/16 to 2016/17. This is the first complete year where the new sentencing guidelines have been in full effect. However, interestingly, the number of prosecutions brought by the HSE has reduced to the lowest numbers in five years.
In 2016/17 the largest single fine awarded to an organisation was £5m, in contrast to the largest fine of 2014/15 which was £750,000. Since the sentencing guidelines have been in place the average fine has increased from £29,000 in 2014/15 (a full year under the old guidelines) to £128,000 in 2016/17.
The number of custodial sentences given to individuals has also increased by 2% since the new guidelines have come into force.
Construction, agriculture and manufacturing industries remain the highest risk for fatal injuries to workers - although these numbers are the lowest compared to the annual average from 2012/13 – 2016/17.