Court of Appeal reduce H&S fine from £900k to £135k

The Court of Appeal has recently allowed, at least in part, an appeal by Electricity North West Ltd, against the fine of £900,000 imposed by the Crown Court at Preston following its conviction for breaching regulation 4(1) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005.

In getting to this figure, the Crown Court used the sentencing guidelines for Health and Safety offences. The company appealed the size of the fine on the following bases:

  1. The judge was wrong to categorise the company's culpability as high and should have found that it was between low and medium; and

  2. The judge ought to have found that the harm category was 3, as there was a low likelihood of harm on the facts of this case.

On the facts of this case the Court of Appeal held that a fine of £135,000 should be substituted for that imposed at the Crown Court and that there should be no further upward adjustment to reflect turnover.

If you would like to read the H&S Sentencing Guidelines, it can be found here.

Tags H&S, Health and Safety, Markel Law, SME