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What is the cost of non-compliance?

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A recent survey by safety consultancy Arinite, studied health and safety fines issued in 2016 (over £32 million), and also analysed how much businesses are spending on compliance. It found that small and medium-sized businesses can expect to pay between £5,000 and £40,000 per year to keep their house in order.

This investment includes maintenance in health and safety systems and the provision of competent health and safety advice.

They then took the £40,000 figure away from the average fine and concluded that if you’re fined it will cost you at least £75,000 more than if you had taken appropriate steps to become compliant. The difference is much greater for larger businesses.

As well as fines, you also have legal costs, lost time, increased insurance costs, potential reputational damage, loss of business, etc. to factor in. As fines are getting larger all the time, the numbers will continue to stack up in favour of compliance over leaving it to chance.

Another important factor to consider is how the courts view those who have ignored their compliance duties. If there has been cost cutting at the expense of safety or a company has a persistent poor safety record, any penalty will be greater. If it can be proved that reasonable effort has been made to be compliant, the penalty you face will reflect this.

So make sure you maintain records of how much time and money has been spent on compliance. If things go wrong, this evidence may be useful in proving that you have invested in reducing the risks.

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