Health & Safety Law – Penalties and Enforcement



Penalties & Enforcement


The Health and Safety at Work etc. Act (1974) is enforced by the Health and Safety Executive Inspectors and the Local Authority Environmental Health Officers (EHO).  Their powers are far reaching and include the right to:

  • Enter premises
  • Dismantle equipment
  • Take samples
  • Seize articles
  • Stop people working if there is imminent danger.

The main role of the inspectors and EHO’s, is to offer information and guidance to employers to improve health and safety awareness and make workplaces safer.

In cases where informal advice has not been followed, or they believe there is an unacceptable level of risk, the following types of legal notice can be served:-

AN IMPROVEMENT NOTICE – this type of notice will state what is wrong, what should be done about it and the time allowed for changes to be made

A PROHIBITION NOTICE – if there is an immediate danger to individuals, this notice can prevent an unsafe activity being carried out or can stop all or part of a workplace being used.


In addition to being prosecuted for breaking the criminal law (law of the land), civil law allows private parties to claim compensation for injuries/damages against others that have caused them loss or suffering.

Fee for Intervention (FFI)

Under Health and Safety (Fees) Regulations 2012, those found to have broken the health and safety law, will be charged a fee for the amount it has cost the Health and Safety Executive to investigate and take enforcement action



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