Disciplinary Committee hearing on 13 May 2015

IOSH member not named

The Disciplinary Committee considered the case of an IOSH member who admitted a breach of Code point 1.2 in the IOSH Code of Conduct. This Code point requires members to abide by the law.

The member was convicted of common assault. The offence was committed outside his employment. He notified IOSH as required by Code point 1.3 (a). The member submitted an explanation of background factors, information from a medical practitioner and documents showing he had the support of both the victim and his employer. 

The Disciplinary Committee regarded the offence as a serious one and noted that the Court disposal had reflected that. Violence being so-called ‘domestic violence’ was not put forward or taken as a mitigating factor in this case. The member expressed remorse and had shown insight.

The Disciplinary Committee determined that there were exceptional circumstances and so it would impose a Reprimand as a proportionate penalty to preserve public trust and confidence in IOSH members generally and IOSH itself. The Disciplinary Committee had taken into account guidance on imposing penalties, which includes the following passage:

“Where the [member] has been convicted of a criminal offence that does not involve dishonesty, then it may be possible to be more tolerant if it was unrelated to competent and proportionate health and safety risk management.”

Each case depends on its merits. This case did not set an IOSH tariff for a conviction for common assault. Moreover the Disciplinary Committee added a rider to its decision in this case. This was that the member should appreciate a further breach of Code point 1.2 would be extremely unlikely to lead to the same result under the disciplinary procedure. Accordingly on occasions a Reprimand may be imposed to serve as a final warning to a member as to their future conduct.

Bearing in mind the exceptional circumstances in this case the Disciplinary Committee ordered that publication of its decision should not identify the member. Publication nevertheless shows IOSH takes action to enforce its standards. Publication also serves as a reminder to other members that they should avoid departing from those standards in any way that could undermine public trust and confidence in the profession whether ‘on duty’ or not.