Much tougher penalties for health-and-safety offences are contained in new laws aimed at companies and organisations which are tempted to cut corners in the recession.
The Health and Safety (Offences) Act will come into effect on 16 January and will see three tough new penalties introduced to act as a deterrent.
Some cases can now be tried in magistrates' or Crown courts, imprisonment will be a possibility for most breaches, and the maximum magistrates' court fine will jump from £5,000 to £20,000.
British Red Cross First Aid spokeswoman Anna Brown said: "We are aware that many businesses are beginning to feel the pinch, and are understandably looking for ways to make savings, but these tough new laws mean that cutting back on training might end up not only being a false economy but could be literally a criminal waste of your company's resources."
"Unfortunately, accidents in the workplace can and do happen, and for the sake of trying to save a couple of hundred pounds you could end up facing a fine of up to £20,000."