23 people have been sentenced to prison in first seven months of new guidelines!

The rate that individuals are being sentenced to prison for health and safety offences has increased dramatically in the seven months since the new sentencing guideline was introduced on 1 February.

23 people received either an immediate or suspended custodial sentence between the beginning of February and mid September, which amounts to three a month.

In contrast, 189 individuals were sentenced to the same penalty for health and safety offences between 1974, when the Health and Safety at Work Act came into force, and the end of January 2016. This equates to an average of less than five a year.

Of these 23 people who received immediate or suspended custodial sentences, ten were for gas safety offences; 20 were directors of small businesses or sole traders; and three were employees.

Most of the 23 offenders sentenced since February received suspended sentences, but six people were given immediate prison sentences for safety offences. All six were either directors of small firms or sole traders, with two custodial sentences for gross negligence manslaughter.