- Project plans
- Project activities
- Legislation and standards
- Industry context
- Specialist wikis
Last edited 04 Mar 2021
The Health and Safety (Offences) Act 2008
Breaches in health and safety law could now land employers or their staff in prison, where previously they would have faced fines. The Health and Safety (Offences) Act 2008 came into effect in January 2009 and means that employees or their bosses could face up to two years in prison for failing to comply with legislation.
This applies to anyone who contributes to a health and safety offence, even if an accident or injury has not occurred. In other words, if someone behaves recklessly, and they have been properly trained, they could personally be prosecuted and given a custodial sentence. The reckless behaviour does not need to result in a serious incident, only the possibility of one. The same thing applies to anyone who fails to take proper care of other people's safety, including, for example, not carrying out a risk assessment or fire risk assessment.
The purpose of the law is to try to get employers to take its matters seriously. More than 200 people are killed every year in accidents at work, and many more are injured. The costs to businesses are huge. Even minor breaches of the rules now carry fines of up to £20,000, and whereas fines were previously related to specific serious breaches, people can now be fined for just about any offence.
The Act gives lower courts the power to impose higher fines for some offences, offering a real deterrent to those businesses and individuals that do not take their responsibilities seriously. Everyone has the right to work in an environment where risks to their safety are properly managed, and employers have a duty in law to deliver this.
The Act does not place any new duties on employers, and those following the law have nothing to fear. It is intended to target those few people who willfully ignore the regulations and put their staff or colleagues at risk by cutting corners or being careless.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
Featured articles and news
ECA and SELECT offer assistance to members set back by delays.
The virtual learning event examines Historic Places - People Places.
Getting post-pandemic infrastructure on the right track.
One of England's grandest country houses.
Take just two minutes to provide your feedback.
An update of standards and regulations is under consideration.
Exploring the key to the adoption of this abundant energy source.
His clients have ranged from Liberace to St Nick to world-class athletes.
These tactical structures can be permanent or temporary.
Organisation recognises milestones of the project's next phase.
Welding and metalworking businesses must manage respiratory risks.
New report explores how regulations are being put into action.
The golden thread and BS 8644-1.