- January 29, 2016
- Posted by: Josiah Hincks Solicitors
- Category: Business Law Updates
Health and safety breaches can have tragic consequences and companies which break the law should know that they will be hit hard in the pocket. In one case, an agricultural supplies company which was fined £600,000 following a lorry driver’s death failed to convince the Court of Appeal that the penalty was excessive.
The highly experienced driver’s lorry was being loaded at a dockyard when a large mound of animal feed collapsed and engulfed him. Despite frantic efforts to revive him by the company’s employees and the emergency services, he failed to regain consciousness and later died in hospital. The fine was imposed after the company admitted an offence under the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.
Whilst the company had trained its own staff in how to avoid such accidents, it had not put proper procedures in place to safeguard non-employees. In dismissing the company’s appeal, the Court noted that the breach was serious and had created a high risk of harm. The company had an annual turnover of about £1 billion and the level of the fine was appropriate in order to bring home to its shareholders the serious nature of the offence.