BLM’s health and safety tracker found that fines against construction companies totalled £13.6m last year, up from £6.6m in 2015.
The surge followed a change in legislation in February 2016, which now requires courts to consider culpability, seriousness and likelihood of harm, as well as the size of a business and its turnover when imposing fines.
“The new sentencing guidelines send a strong message to all businesses big or small: it is people and business critical to ensure that safety processes and systems are a board level priority,” said Helen Devery, partner and head of health and safety at insurance and risk law firm BLM.
- Construction company fined over unsafe work on pub development
- 3 construction firms sentenced after scaffold plunged into river
- Construction firm fined after building site was unsecure for almost 5 months
“The introduction of the risk of harm means that near misses will be reviewed and subject to potential prosecution so this has been a game-changing 12 months for the industry.”
Companies across the UK were forced to pay out over £61m in health and safety fines in 2016, marking a 148% rise on the previous year.
After construction, manufacturing and utilities were the next most costly, racking up bills of £12m and £8.4m respectively.
Meanwhile, agriculture saw the biggest improvement, with fines dropping from £1.8m in 2015 to just £340,400 last year.
“Robust and proactive audit processes which interrogate and improve systems will be seen as best practice and at the heart of this is a commitment to effective risk assessment and training across all parts of the business,” added Helen.