Punishments up for negligent managers

Posted on 1 Dec 2008 by The Manufacturer

Manufacturing managers are being warned that a new law which comes into force in January could see them jailed if an employee is injured at work.

Health and Safety (Offences) Act 2008 becomes active on January 16 2009. Breaches of the Act are punishable by custodial sentences for managers and directors, by fines up to £20,000 or both.

This Act revises the way people can be punished for breaching health and safety standards but the obligations businesses face have not changed.

Jane Gillham is a director of Pivotal Performance – a company which trains manufacturing firms on health and safety. She said: “This law changes everything. While an accident involving an employee can already be a disastrous event, the punishment of the leaders of the business under this new law could see the business be forced to shut down.

“It means that employers must carefully manage the risk from everything their employees do, including things such as driving on company business. If an employee had an accident because they had been working long hours, their manager could be blamed as well.”

For a copy of the Health and Safety (Offences) Act 2008 click here.