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The consequences of health and safety convictions is not limited to financial penalties

20 July 2016

A judge at the Old Bailey has recently sentenced a construction company on two counts of corporate manslaughter and one count under the Health and Safety at Work Act following a double fatality in October 2013.

Two pedestrians sustained fatal injuries when walking past a construction project to convert a basement near Euston in Central London. Both men fell through a poorly protected sky light falling 3.7 metres to their deaths.

The construction company was a 'micro' company, with a turnover of much less than £2 million per annum. The judge imposed a fine of £550,000 for two corporate manslaughter offences and a separate breach of Section 3 of the Health and Safety at Work Act. In addition, the company was ordered to pay £23,000 in prosecution costs. The company was also ordered to issue a publicity order advertising the accident, conviction and financial penalty imposed.

This is just another example of the significant increase in the level of fines that are now imposed for corporate manslaughter and health and safety offences. The impact that such a significant fine will have on a company with such a small turnover will not just be limited to financial hardship but could also affect their ability to win new work. It is standard practice in the construction sector for clients to request information relating to health and safety convictions and no doubt a conviction on two counts of manslaughter and one health and safety offence will impair this company’s ability to win work in the future.

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