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More stick, less carrot?

Enforcement shifts towards punishment rather than encouragement

· health and safety

"Fire safety inspections down 42% over 7 years"; A report by HM Inspectorate found 42% fewer routine inspections in 14 of the 45 Fire Services in England. I think this mirrors enforcement inspections by both local authorities and the HSE; many inspectors now only visit a workplace re-actively, i.e. in response to an accident report, complaint, or some other incident. Gone are the days of the HSE Infoline, a superb service which offered great advice. Blame the recession if you like, but it means that helping businesses to comply, through information, encouragement and coaching are off the menu.

On the other hand, since the reform of the sentencing guidelines in 2016, fines for health and safety offences have moved upwards, I'd estimate by a decimal place. EHN reports that, since the 2016 change, 60 fines over £1m have been levied, compared with just 19 in the previous 42 years. 

Conclusion; the stick has definitely got bigger, and the carrot all but disappeared.

NB Average fine per health and safety conviction is now £147k, up from £28k.

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