Fines and Punishments Put Employers' 'Duty of Care' In The Spotlight

Two motor sector companies have already paid the price for flouting health and safety law this year. Two directors of one are together serving prison sentences totting up to 12 years and 9 months; the other has been fined £900,000 plus £5820 in costs. Showing ‘duty of care’ has never been more important.

In the first scenario cited, the haulage operator had not serviced and maintained its 450,000-mile vehicle and killed four people due to failure of brakes that only had 28% efficiency at the time. In the second, a big brand car manufacturer failed to train an employee in selecting, inspecting and using access equipment for work at height. This led to a severe head injury and the employee’s hospitalisation in an induced coma.

The advice from these cases comes from what sentencing officials stated in court. In case one the investigation, “revealed a shocking picture of a company culture with a complete disregard of safety and maintenance. This was a company with a very casual attitude towards safety … Company owners must adhere to a duty of care to the public.”

In the second, it was said: “Even a fall from a relatively small height can have devastating consequences.”

In both scenarios, the accidents could have been avoided by having systems in place that ensured maintenance took place, and through which proper staff training was conducted. In both, the severity of the punishment is indicative of new sentencing guidelines now in place for breaches of health and safety law.

If you don’t have the time, to ensure you exercise your duty of care, you need professional help and access to tools that Gauntlet Risk Management can provide. Don’t delay! Call us today on 0113 244 8686.