Health and Safety (Offences) Act 2008

The Health and Safety (Offences) Act 2008 came into force on the 16 January 2009, prompting a raft of warnings to employers, the self-employed and employees who may be tempted to cut corners in the credit crunch and end up costing themselves their business and even their freedom.

The new Act raises the maximum fine that can be imposed by the magistrates’ courts for breaches of health and safety legislation from £5000 to £20,000 and makes imprisonment an option for more offences. Anyone who flouts the law on health and safety will now potentially face bigger penalties.

So I would recommend that you know your responsibilities as a freelancer, contractor or as an employee. The bottom line is that ‘sensible’ health and safety arrangements are going to become more of an issue within our industry and we must all be very aware of the independent producer or production company that does not have a policy statement, or does not carry out and provide suitable and sufficient risk assessments for filming.

Chief Executive of the Health and Safety Executive, Geoffrey Podger, pointed out that, although the Act does not impose any new duties on employers or businesses, it will act as 'a real deterrent' to those who do not take their health and safety responsibilities seriously. He added: “Our message to the many employers who do manage health and safety well is that they have nothing to fear from this change in law. We will retain the important safeguards that ensure that our inspectors use their powers sensibly and proportionately. We will continue to target those who cut corners, put lives at risk, and who gain commercial advantage over competitors by failing to comply with the law.”

To view the Health and Safety (Offences) Act 2008 click here.

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