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Press Release: Emargoed Wednesday 28 May 00.01 am

CCA Research: 15 Directors Convicted of Health and Safety Offences

Fifteen people who are either company directors or very senior managers have been convicted of health and safety offences between April 1999 and January 2003, according to research conducted by the CCA.

These convictions, following offences committed between October 1996 and October 2001, resulted in the directors/senior managers receiving an average fine of £2,656. None were sent to prison.

It appears that most of the directors convicted are involved in small companies.

Four of these convictions resulted from investigations into a fatality; seven resulted from injuries and the other five resulted from circumstances where the safety of workers was endangered.

All the prosecutions were taken by either the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) or Local Authorities. It is not known how many prosecutions against directors resulted in an acquittal.

To donwload details of these prosecutions, Click Here (word)

In the same period - HSE's prosecution database indicates that companies were convicted of health and safety offences on over 2600 occasions. The CCA research therefore indicates that only a small percentage of prosecutions – around 0.5% - result in the prosecution and conviction of a director.

In order for a company director to be prosecuted for a health and safety offence it is necessary to prove that the director was aware that the company was committing an offence and did nothing to stop it (‘connivance’) or that the offence by the company was the result of ‘any neglect’ on the part of the director. The provision to prosecute directors is set out in section 37 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

The HSE has been subjected to criticism in recent years over its failure to prosecute directors.

However in January 2002, it published a new Enforcement Policy Statement which states that the HSE and LA inspectors should ‘identify and prosecute … individuals if they consider that a prosecution is warranted’ and that, when they conduct an investigation, ‘in particular they should consider the management chain and the role played by individual directors and managers.’

It is not known yet whether this change has resulted in the prosecution of more directors - since prosecutions may be currently before the courts

The research was based on data contained on HSE's prosecution database.

In addition to health and safety offence convictions, only 8 directors have ever been convicted of manslaughter offences. To see the list, Click Here

CCA contact details
: 020 7 490 4494

To contact the Health and Safety Executive : 0207 717 6700

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Page last updated on January 11, 2004