In the biggest shake up to health and safety offences since the 70s, the guidelines will create a nine stage process setting out a clear and formulaic approach to sentencing. The process requires the judge to determine, using criteria set out in tables, the culpability of the defendant from low to very high and then determine the harm risked by the breach from one of three categories. These two factors are then plotted on a grid to determine a starting point of the fine and the fine range.
It has always been an important part of the process to make submissions as to the appropriate culpability or harm level associated with the offence. Under the new guidelines this significance is underlined as the relationship between each place on the matrix, moving from one harm level to the next typically increases the starting point by over 100%.
To reduce the risk of incurring these increased fines, organisations are advised by the guidelines to comply with the law and follow company procedures. Industry best practice such as the ukactive Code of Practice can potentially save organisations millions, failing to comply with industry guidelines could result in a higher culpability.
Commenting on the new guidelines Andy Read, Safety Manager, Places for People Leisure Management Ltd and representative of ukactive Standards and Legislation committee said “Although this does not change current legislation, it could have a significant impact on any business that is not complying with the standard. The ukactive Code of Practice is a great tool to help make sure that your organisation has got its policies and procedures in order”.
Executive Director Steve Ward added: “Every organisation across the sector is effected by the new sentencing guidelines. We all need to ensure we comply with the law, follow company procedures and meet industry best practice. ukactive can advise you on these standards and help you meet standard requirements through the Code of Practice”.