Critical Analysis of Trend, Proportionality and Impact of Health and Safety Penalties

Andrew Arewa, Augustine Ifelebuegu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Empirical studies concerning trend, proportionality of health and safety fines and its impact on organisations are rare. This study seeks to examine trend, proportionality and the impacts of health and safety fines on small and large organisations. The study employed mixed research methods for better understanding of the research theme. Actual health and safety convictions and penalties data were obtained through the United Kingdom Health and Safety Executive (HSE) public register for convictions. For validity, data covering two separate periods (2007 – 2010 and 2011 to 2015) concerning construction health and safety cases and breaches across other industries were considered for analysis. Overall, 2,217 health and safety cases were analysed amounting to total fines of £37,179,916. In addition, eight interviews were conducted with industry practitioners, lawyers and officials of HSE as part of the study qualitative data. Findings show that there is significant disproportionality in health and safety fines imposed on organisations when similar health and safety regulations are breached. Besides, there is a general perception that health and safety fines are circuitously influenced by turnover, scalability and commerciality of corporate offenders. The study also reveals that small businesses are seemingly squeezed by excessive fines compared to large companies.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Safety Studies
Publication statusSubmitted - 21 Mar 2017


  • Fines, Health/Safety, Organisation, Proportionality


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