Health and Safety cases (R012262)
Thank you for your request dated 1 February 2016 under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA) for the undernoted information:
“1. How many health and safety cases/incidents were recommended for prosecution by the HSE in 2011/12, 2012/13, 2013/14 and 2014/15
2. What percentage of those cases involved major-injury incidents in each of the years.
3. What proportion of the cases recommended for prosecution resulted in charges being brought in each of those years?
4. What proportion of the cases in which charges were brought resulted in a conviction in each of those years?
5. What was the typical sentence in each of those years?”
The Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service's case management database is a live, operating database. It is designed to meet our business needs in relation to the processing of criminal cases, and the information within it is structured accordingly. We do not have a separate database, and hold only operational data needed for business purposes, ie to prepare court documentation; to send and receive electronic information regarding court appearances and results; to cite witnesses; to deal with issues relating to disclosure of information to the defence etc.
In regard to the first part of your request, I have attached a table showing the number of charges which the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) have reported for consideration to COPFS in the years requested, the charges where court action has been taken, and the charges where a final decision has still to be reached. Please be aware that one or more charge may be contained in any report and that one or more accused person/company may be the subject of any report.
You should also note that in some cases where there is more than one charge in a report, action can be taken in relation to other charges reported in the case, for example, because the prosecutor took the view that an alternative charge was more appropriate or because details of the charge were included within the body of another charge for evidential reasons. I have included these details under the heading “not a separate charge”
In respect of part 2 of your request, while we do endeavour to provide information whenever possible, in this instance the costs of locating, retrieving and providing the information requested would exceed the upper cost limit of £600. Under Section 12 of FOISA, public authorities are not required to comply with a request for information if the authority estimates that the cost of complying would exceed the upper cost limit, which is currently set at £600 by Regulations made under Section 12.
In order to identify charges which involved “major-injury incidents”, Crown Office staff would have to manually consider all cases reported to COPFS by HSE for the years requested and I am satisfied that, due to the large number of cases that would have to be considered, this would exceed the upper cost limit of £600.
In respect of parts 3 and 4 or your request, I attach a table which provides the information you have requested regarding the number of charges in which a prosecution was raised and the outcome of those charges. For completeness, I have also included information on the charges where a prosecution is still ongoing.
In respect of part 5 of your request, while some sentencing information is held by COPFS, as explained above, our systems are not designed to provide this information and you may wish to contact the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service who may be able to assist you further. I have attached a link to their website for your information: