The number of cases prosecuted by the HSE and Scotland’s Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) rose by 6% in 2015–16, to a provisional total 696 cases, HSE statistics reveal.

The figures also show that the total amount of fines handed down in the courts for health and safety offences in 2015–16 was £38.3m, more than double the £18.1m levied by the courts in 2014–15.

The data is contained in Enforcement in Great Britain 2016, part of the annual release of statistics and reports by the HSE.

In 660 of the 696 prosecutions, a conviction for at least one offence was secured, leading to a conviction rate of 95%.

The £38.3m total means that there was an average penalty of around £58,000 for each of the cases that resulted in a conviction.

The report also covers the number of improvement and prohibition notices issued by the HSE and local authorities in the past year, with evidence of a noticeable decline.

In 2015–16, 11,403 notices were issued by HSE and local authorities, an 8% decrease compared to the previous year. However, the latest annual figure is provisional.

Of this total, 8771 notices were issued by HSE, down 7% compared to 2014–15.

But there was a steeper fall among local authorities, where the 2632 notices issued represents a fall of 12% compared to the 2984 issued in 2014–15.