Whirlpool successfully appeals health and safety fine at the Court of Appeal – a trend in reducing "manifestly excessive" health and safety fines?
In a landmark Court of Appeal case, Whirlpool, the multinational manufacturer of home appliances has successfully appealed their sentence of a £700,000 fine, having earlier pleaded guilty to an offence contrary to Section 3 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. This article examines how Whirlpool managed to appeal their sentence on the basis that the fine was manifestly excessive and highlights how sentencing judges must pay close attention when applying the Definitive Sentencing Guideline on Corporate Manslaughter, Health and Safety and Food and Safety Hygiene Offences (the "Guideline") for health and safety offences. It is considered whether Whirlpool's success in the Court of Appeal will lead to other large organisations lodging appeals on similar grounds.
The sharp rise of the 'gig economy' poses significant challenges for companies when it comes to health and safety and the well-being of workers. Although the gig economy model can offer various benefits, recent commentary has suggested that workers are at risk of physical and mental illness due to the lack of rights and protection. But are companies operating within the gig economy under a duty to protect the well-being of their workers?