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Double price for violating the Danish Working Environment Act

January 2009 - Employment. Legal Developments by Norrbom Vinding Law Firm, member of ius laboris.

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22-12-2008 - Fines for health and safety violations to double. A Bill intended to reduce the number of accidents at work introduced by the Danish Minister for Employment

Bill introduced by the Danish Ministry of Employment

Sussi L. Skovgaard-Holm
slh@norrbomvinding.com

Fines for health and safety violations to double. A Bill intended to reduce the number of accidents at work introduced by the Danish Minister for Employment.

The accident at work rate must fall - particularly for accidents that result in serious injury or death. The Danish Minister for Employment has therefore introduced a Bill to amend the Danish Working Environment Act and increase the fines for health and safety violations.

The Bill forms part of the Ministry's drive to reduce accidents at work that was launched in January 2008. If the Bill is enacted, the Danish Working Environment Act will be tightened up in terms of the size of fines and maximum penalty.

Maximum penalty to increase and fines to double
With respect to the maximum penalty, the Minister for Employment is proposing to broaden the application scope of the maximum penalty (2 years' imprisonment). So far, the maximum penalty has been reserved for people acting with intent or gross negligence. But the Minister would like to see the maximum penalty being imposed for all health and safety violations leading to accidents involving serious injury or death - whatever the degree of negligence involved.

‚ÄėSerious injury' is defined in the Bill to include limb loss, bone fractures, wounds or caustic injuries on large parts of the body as well as poisoning. Injuries such as finger and toe sprains and fractures, however, would not constitute serious injury under the amended Act.

With the amendment, the Minister is also sending a clear signal to the Danish courts that the current level of fines for health and safety violations must be doubled. More specifically, the Minister is proposing to double the general DKK 20 000 fine to DKK 40 000. For gross violations, fines will increase from DKK 40 000 to DKK 80 000.

If enacted, the Bill will come into force on 1 January 2009.

Norrbom Vinding will, of course, be following the Bill through the Danish Parliament.

This information does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such

For more information please visit www.norrbomvinding.com