Women in Health and Safety
Incident management and sentencing guideline update
Kennedys’ regulatory team recently held a Women in Health and Safety event where its experienced health and safety lawyers provided advice on crisis management and delivered an update on the Sentencing Guideline, offering insights into recent Kennedys’ cases.
Event organiser Olivia Tusler, Senior Associate, began proceedings by providing an introduction to the team and outlined the topics that were to be covered by the speakers.
Incident management and responding to regulatory investigations
Rebecca Connell and Kathryn Lumby provided a helpful insight to organisations on the importance of managing a work-related incident from its happening and through the investigatory stages.
They highlighted the importance of having a crisis management plan in place that is specific to the business and its associated risks. Importantly, they discussed how to best work with regulators in a manner that provides assistance to an investigation, but also protects the business from inadvertent self-incrimination.
Additionally Rebecca and Kathryn provided information on the powers of the Police and the HSE/Local Authorities,the different types of interviews the regulators can conduct and how best to manage interviews, and assist employees, when faced with these challenges.
The “Definitive Guideline” for the Sentencing of Health and Safety Offences
Laura Bradford and Laura-Rose Budden outlined the statistics for fines pre and post the imposition of the Definitive Guideline which showed a dramatic 447% increase for the average level of fine imposed for a health and safety offence post Definitive Guideline and increases of 1,383% for large/very large organisations (with a turnover in excess of £50M).
They provided updates on the popular topic of sentencing of group companies following the decisions of the Court of Appeal in R v Tata Steel Uk Ltd  and R v NPS London Ltd , and discussed how the Definitive Guideline applies to companies that are part of a group company structure and the Court’s ability to “pierce the corporate veil”.
Laura and Laura-Rose concluded their presentation with an assessment of whether the Definitive Guideline has had a deterrent effect and trends the team has experienced since the Definitive Guideline came into force in February 2016.
Marta Tomlinson, Senior Associate closed the presentations with Q&As from the audience, who provided many interesting questions and topics for debate. The evening concluded with a well-attended networking drinks event, with molecular cocktails provided by interactive bar company, The Gastronomy Guys.
Kennedys has been a forefront provider of legal advice and assistance to clients facing investigation and prosecution by the Police, HSE and Local Authorities. Its 26 strong Tier 1 (legal 500 and Chambers & Partners) team have been involved in some of the biggest health and safety cases over the last 20 years.
The Women in Health and Safety network is run by an independent committee, Chaired by Dr Judith Grant, Director of Health and Wellbeing at Mace. The network hosts free-to-attend events, for all health and safety practitioners, which take place throughout the year around the UK.
All past and upcoming events are listed on the SHP Women in Health and Safety hub and advertised in the Women in Health and Safety LinkedIn group.
While it is clear that COVID-19 has been not just a societal threat but also a matter of risk management, employers must again look to how businesses will safely reopen in line with the Government’s Working Safely During Coronavirus guidance to ensure that they are COVID-secure. To help you navigate the confusing and fast-changing regulations, guidance and legislation – get your free copy of the April 2021 Legislation Update.
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