Companies warned over increasing h&s fines

Companies have been warned that increasing fines for serious breaches of health and safety laws could lead to the closure of offending businesses.

Warnings issued by the British Safety Council point to fines totalling nearly £5m meted out to two major UK companies in the last two weeks.

Last week, Balfour Beatty Utility Solutions was fined £2.6m for breaches of health and safety law leading to the death of James Sim in April 2010, when a trench he was working in collapsed. On April 29, builders merchant Travis Perkins received a fine of £2m following an incident at its depot in Old Wolverton in 2012 when a worker was crushed by a company vehicle.

According to the British Safety Council, the prosecutions demonstrated the significance of recent changes in sentencing guidelines that will be applied by courts in England and Wales for health and safety offences …

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