IOSH wants ignoring competent safety and health advice to be an aggravating factor in corporate manslaughter and health and safety offenses

Ignoring Competent HSE Advice Should Be Aggravating Factor in Sentencing: IOSH

The world's largest health and safety professional association, IOSH proposed this in comments to the Sentencing Council on corporate manslaughter and health and safety offenses.

Stressing the need for sentences in criminal cases to reflect both culpability and societal disapproval, the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) has recommended that ignoring competent health and safety advice should be considered an aggravating factor at sentencing for those convicted of corporate manslaughter and health and safety offenses.

The recommendation is included in IOSH's response to a consultation by the Sentencing Council on guidelines on corporate manslaughter and health and safety offenses. IOSH, the world's largest health and safety professional association, also suggested victim impact statements could be considered, if those affected wish to provide them, and that sentencing options be supplemented with compulsory health and safety training, saying the idea is similar to the "Speed Aware" program aimed at preventing drivers from speeding. IOSH also emphasized the importance of appropriate use of director disqualification for convicted individuals.

"It's absolutely vital that those sentencing for serious health and safety failures fully appreciate the devastation and lasting harm these offenses can bring. Well-designed guidelines can help ensure that sentencing is consistent and effective. The goal here is to ensure safe and healthy work for all," Richard Jones, IOSH's head of policy and public affairs, said.

Sentencing guidelines help judges and magistrates decide the appropriate sentence for a criminal offence. Criminal offenses in England and Wales are very broadly defined; guidelines help to ensure that courts in both are consistent in their approach to sentencing, according to IOSH.

To view IOSH's response to the recent Sentencing Council consultation, visit www.iosh.co.uk/condocs.

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