Following the Sentencing Council’s publication of the definitive sentencing guidelines for health and safety offences, corporate manslaughter and food safety offences on 3 November last year, the guidelines are now in force (1 February) and apply to any case sentenced in courts in England and Wales on or after today’s date.
Described as the most dramatic change to health and safety legislation since the introduction of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act in 1974, the guidelines have been introduced to give courts comprehensive guidance for these offences. They introduce a structured nine step approach that the Court should follow, so as to calculate sentences. This involves plugging culpability and harm factors into a series of tables to reach recommended starting point fines, as well as ranges of fines above and below the starting points.
They can involve highly complex cases that do not frequently come before the courts and therefore the Sentencing Council decided that existing guidance should be expanded and revised to ensure that fair and proportionate sentences are given to offenders.
The guidelines can be found on the Sentencing Council’s website here: