“Prevention is better than cure” – risk management
Compliance with health and safety law is the minimum level all businesses should achieve. Understanding the regulatory health and safety framework in which your business operates can however be a real challenge particularly if your activities are regulated by specific regulations such as COMAH or ROGS.
Failures to comply can result in criminal prosecution and significant fines together with loss of productivity, low morale, adverse media attention and reputational damage. Health and safety should not just be reactive: accident prevention and proactive health and safety management should be high on the agenda of any organisation.
We offer comprehensive and commercial advice based on years of practical experience dealing with the whole range of health and safety investigations from minor incidents to fatalities across all business sectors including agriculture, construction, healthcare, leisure, manufacturing, oil and gas, retail, sports, transport and waste disposal; to name just a few.
In addition, we have extensive experience of providing bespoke training suitable for any level of your organisation from the shop floor to the board.
Post incident response
After a workplace incident, the investment of time in a thorough internal investigation of the facts and key issues, coupled with cooperation with any reasonable lines of enquiries from the regulator, can have a significant bearing on any subsequent enforcement decision.
Our experienced health and safety lawyers will help you to maintain control, prioritise your objectives and learn lessons with the benefit of legal professional privilege.
We are able to support your business, staff and management following an accident, during investigations, at PACE interviews, inquests, and through to representation in the criminal and civil courts.
Health and safety investigations and prosecutions
Various enforcement authorities are entitled to investigate health and safety breaches including the Health and Safety Executive, the Office of Rail and Road, the Police and Local Authorities. The respective powers of investigation of the various regulators can be surprisingly wide and include, for example, a power to compel witnesses to provide evidence. A failure to cooperate with an investigation can, in itself, provide grounds for individuals or businesses to be prosecuted.
Obtaining informed legal advice at the outset of any investigation is therefore crucial. Our lawyers are on hand 24/7 to respond to business critical incidents by the telephone, by email or in person. We know the limits of the statutory investigative powers and how to respond to almost every conceivable situation.
If the worst does happen and you or your business is prosecuted, we are able to represent you at every stage of the criminal process drawing upon third party expert assistance only when absolutely necessary.
Whilst safety enforcement is based in the criminal sphere, our team's knowledge and experience encompasses civil actions including personal injury or damage to property claims.
Ranked highly by the leading law firm directories for many years, our dedicated team offers a 24/7 service to assist you. For more information please select one of the following options or please contact us:
- We want to manage our businesses risk to ensure we are compliant
- What steps should I take after a workplace accident?
- What is legal privilege?
- We require health & safety training
- I have received a request for information under compulsion
- I need representation at the police station
- I have been invited to an interview under caution
- I have been arrested, what should I do?
- My business is under investigation
- My business is being prosecuted
Recent experience includes:
- The Grenfell Tower Inquiry – representing a Corporate Core Participant
- Acting for a multi-national retailer in relation to numerous fatal accident investigations
- Representing an international oil and gas business following accidents at its refinery
- Advising a major construction company after one of its employees sustained serious injuries following a fall from height
- Successfully defending the production director of a manufacturing business charged with gross negligence manslaughter and a health and safety offence, following a fatal crushing injury to an employee
- Representing a national food manufacturer in relation to a number of safety investigations, PACE interviews, and representation at court for breaches of health and safety legislation
- Representing two site construction managers at a large food factory construction project in the Midlands following a fatal accident including at interviews under caution for allegations of manslaughter at the subsequent inquest and ultimately avoiding prosecution.
- Representing a company following a major explosion at its manufacturing site
- Advising an international transport business in connection with its UK operations including investigations following numerous safety related incidents.
Health & safety is part of Shoosmiths’ wider regulation, business crime & compliance offering. If you would like help finding the right team or lawyer please contact us on +44 (0)3700 863 000 or contact us by email to [email protected].