Health and safety prosecutions solicitors
Olliers Solicitors have a team of specialist regulatory lawyers with significant experience of health and safety matters.
The Health and Safety Executive states that as an employer, you are required by law to protect your employees, and others, from harm.
Under the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, you must identify any hazards, decide how likely it is someone could be harmed and take action to eliminate the hazard, or if not possible, control the risk presented.
If you are facing prosecution or investigation for breaches of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, Olliers can represent you at each stage of the process providing valuable and robust advice.
The Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 (also referred to as HSWA, the HSW Act, the 1974 Act or HASAWA) is the primary piece of legislation covering occupational health and safety in Great Britain. The Health and Safety Executive, with local authorities (and other enforcing authorities) is responsible for enforcing the Act and a number of other Acts and Statutory Instruments relevant to the working environment.
The Health and Safety Legislation covers a vast array of areas such as electrical safety, fire safety, gas safety, harmful substances, manual handling, noise, personal protective equipment, pressure equipment, radiations, slips and trips, vibrations, working at height, in confined spaces and workplace transport to name a few.
Where there has been an accident at a workplace, a Health and Safety inspector will generally attend the work site, take witness statements and seize important exhibits. Medical evidence will be collated and photographs taken. They will also seek to interview under caution any persons suspected of committing an offence. Often prosecutions are as a result of poor risk management. An offence may be committed dependent upon the risk of harm presented.
It is imperative that legal advice is sought prior to interview under caution. Taking necessary steps in the infancy of the case could lead to the matter being further investigated and lead to no further action being taken against the individual or the company.
It is crucial that during the investigation of any Health and Safety offence, a person or company under investigation does everything they can to avoid a prosecution.
We are frequently contacted by clients who have been asked to attend a voluntary interview. This will provide us with an opportunity to submit written representations on your behalf. Alternatively, if a client has already been interviewed we may be contacted once they are released under investigation. The pre charge stage of the case is absolutely crucial. It is the opportunity for the defence to go on the front foot adopting a proactive approach to pre-charge engagement with investigators. At Olliers, we will always look to make successful representations against charge and prevent clients being prosecuted, something we discuss in more detail here.
What types Health and Safety cases can Olliers assist with?
Olliers can provide specialist advice and representation in relation to:
- Health and Safety incidents in the workplace
- Corporate manslaughter
- Corporate homicide
- Fire safety offences
- Enforcement, improvement and prohibition notices
- Representation of companies and directors at PACE interviews
- Representation at Magistrates’ and Crown Court proceedings
- Attending inquests
- Advice in relation to Health & Safety policies and compliance requirements
- Ongoing pre-charge engagement with investigators
Health and Safety Executive
The Health and Safety Executive have powers to investigate and impose:
- Fee for Interventions
- Enforcement Notices
- Improvement Notices
- Prohibition notices
Companies and individuals can be prosecuted under HSWA for breaching the legislation which can lead to an unlimited fine and up to 6 years custody.
In addition to the HSWA The Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007 came into force on 6th April 2008 and for the first time, companies and organisations can be found guilty of corporate manslaughter as a result of serious management failures resulting in a gross breach of a duty of care.
Health and Safety prosecutions are on the rise and it is imperative you seek help not only after any accident but make sure that you have the necessary compliance and access to immediate assistance available to you 24 hours each and every day.
Reputation of companies and profits can be severely damaged if businesses are not properly defended or advised.
Companies must keep up to speed with Health and Safety Regulation. For instance, there has been a significant recent change to the law regarding PPE equipment and more prosecutions are anticipated in relation to this area.
Here at Olliers Solicitors we bring experience and understanding in giving advice on prevention and providing representation in all areas of Health and Safety litigation. As in every area of our practice we advocate a pro-active approach through negotiations and advice which can reduce the risk of enforcement action being taken.
- Representation of general manager of leisure company following death at holiday camp
- Representation of safety officer at Sheffield Wednesday FC during police investigation into Hillsborough disaster
- Representation of G4S officers charged with manslaughter following death in deportation flight