The Health and Safety Executive is set to review its enforcement procedure after a large and continuous fall in the number of prosecutions. To help with the process a new role has been created (Director of Legal Services) to help increase the number of successful prosecutions whilst reviewing the process.
The change is a move by the HSE Executive to increase successful prosecutions which have fallen by 44% to 361 cases down from 644 in 2015/2016. The drop was down to a lack of properly qualified inspectors and long legal hearings.
The threat of prosecution and potential costs of damages is one of the reasons why companies invest so heavily in health and safety, and with the harder line being taken by the HSE Executive this trend is likely to continue into the future.
Prosecutions brought by the HSE are a matter of public record and can be viewed on the register of convictions and notices.
The HSE Executive has an estimated 300 fewer spectators than it did in 2010, these roles are crucial when it comes to the evidence gathering and compliance activities that are important for seeking successful prosecutions.
The changes championed by HSE CEO Sarah Albon are part of a harder line strategy the governing body is looking to take against companies who allow malpractice to occur in the changing professional environment. This is reflected in the seeking of a prosecution after 5 workers were killed by a collapsing wall at a waste processing plant in 2016.