New sentencing guidelines for health and safety, corporate manslaughter and food safety and hygiene offences

Published: 5 Nov 2015

The Sentencing Council has issued guidelines for sentencing corporate manslaughter, health and safety and food safety and hygiene offences which will come into effect in February 2016. By and large this will be the most dramatic shake up in enforcement history.

The publication of the guidelines ensures that for the first time, there will be comprehensive sentencing guidelines covering the most commonly sentenced health and safety offences and food safety offences in England and Wales.

Until now, there has been limited guidance for judges and magistrates in dealing with what can be complex and serious offences that do not come before the courts as frequently as some other criminal offences. Major companies that breach food safety laws are likely to face increased fines under new sentencing guidelines published by the Sentencing Council.

Offences that come under the guidelines are very varied and could include a building firm that causes the death of an employee by not providing the proper equipment for working at height, a restaurant that causes an outbreak of e. coli poisoning through unsafe food preparation or a manufacturer that causes injury to a new worker by not providing training for operating machinery.

In some cases, offenders will receive higher penalties, particularly large organizations committing serious offences – such as when an organization is convicted of deliberately breaking the law and creating a high risk of death or serious injury.

Magistrates and judges will be expected to calculate fines primarily on the basis of a convicted firm’s turnover rather than profits or assets. The guidelines which come into affect in February 2016, state firms with turnovers over £50m face fines of between £500,000 and £3m in the most serious cases.

For the information about the new sentencing guidance please see the link below:,3SJW3,LCSMM6,DNXI8,1