Food safety offences have, for the first time, been included in the food sentencing guidelines. As a direct result, fines are to set to soar to eye-watering levels. These potentially significantly higher penalties will be headline grabbing and have a serious impact on profitability and investment. What was a £160,000 fine, could now be £1.6 million.
Exactly where the fine will sit within the range will depend on the mitigating and aggravating features – and this is where you and your insurance broker can work together.
Chief among the aggravating features is a poor health and safety record. Here, an insurance broker should provide regular claims reviews throughout the year to identify trends and agree measures to put in place. Such actions will enable you to clearly demonstrate what measures have been taken to improve your safety record and that you take this whole area seriously.
Cost cutting at the expense of safety is another area that will be frowned upon. An insurance audit should look closely at your health and safety policy to support their presentation to insurers. Insurers support with health and safety could supplement the cost of your own programme.
Refusal of free advice or training will also come under the microscope. At Jobson James, we will share with you details of free training you can tap into via our involvement with IOSH,BFFF,BSB,BFBi and other trade associations. We also place insurance with partners in the industry who provide free training or advice.
On a positive note, if you can evidence steps you have voluntarily taken to remedy a problem, that will be looked kindly upon. For example, if you have cover for product recall, crisis containment and/or brand protection you are clearly demonstrating your recognition of the possible seriousness of the issue.
The message in the guidelines is clear – ‘the fine must be sufficiently substantial to have a real economic impact which will bring home to both management and shareholders the need to comply with health and safety legislation.’
Companies need to start taking this very seriously. Indeed, never has it been more important that your Health & Safety policy is not only watertight but positively glistens.
If we can help in any way, please call Dean Smith, ACII Chartered Insurance Broker, on 07551 156 810 or e mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Dangerous food. Food wrapped in crime scene tape.