Health and Safety Inspections and Advice
The main legislation in relation to health and safety is the Health and Safety at Work Act etc 1974 (HASAWA74).
Responsibilities for enforcing Health and Safety legislation is shared between a central government body called the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and local authorities.
Enforcement responsibilities are decided based on the ‘main activity’ carried on at each premises.
Standards of health and safety in these work places are achieved by:
Inspection of work places and work activities
Investigation of workplace related complaints
Investigation of workplace accidents
The Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 gives inspectors various powers of enforcement.
Where an inspector is of the opinion that a person is contravening one or more of the relevant statutory provisions, an Improvement Notice can be served. This notice states the particulars and the inspector’s opinion and requires that the stated matters must be remedied within a specified period. It is an offence not to comply with an Improvement Notice.
This applies to any activities that are being or about to be carried on by or under the control of any person which involve or will involve the risk of serious personal injury. The notice specifies the matters that cause the inspector to form an opinion and directs a person not to carry out the specified activities. Such a notice may come into effect immediately where the risk is imminent. It is an offence not to comply with a Prohibition Notice.
Appeals for Improvement and Prohibition Notices are normally made to industrial tribunals. After its adjudication the tribunal will issue written decisions which are binding upon the parties. An appeal may be made to the High Court on a point of law.