Health and Safety News

Occupational health and safety news and guidance

How does H&S legislation compare across Europe?

Despite the European Union having a solid framework covering health and safety regulations at work, actual legislation and how it is enforced varies significantly between European countries.

Various bodies and people are held accountable differently in different countries, and some might appear to be at a greater risk of being prosecuted. As this new interactive infographic, from health and safety consultants, Arinite shows; legislation and conviction rates vary significantly across Europe.

French organisations seem to have one of the toughest times keeping up with health and safety standards. The Labor Inspectorate sends 6,000-8,000 cases to the prosecutor each year, 30% of which are to do with illegal working. About 76% of H&S cases lead to fines, 12% to fines and imprisonment, and 2% to imprisonment.

However, this high volume is likely because they have many more safety authorities responsible for their population. In contrast, the British Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecuted just 1,058 offences in 2014/15 resulting in 905 convictions: a conviction rate of 86%. Fines totalled £16.5 million with an average penalty of £18,198 per offence. 

Whilst the European Framework Directive on Safety and Health at Work has been tasked with instilling a culture of prevention throughout the European Union, in practice, each country is bound by its own set of laws and legislation – particularly with regards to the working time directive, employee consultation, fire and explosions, and working from height.

Check to see how your workplace welfare compares with those of your European neighbours!

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