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Health and Safety Enforcement.

Published by Safety Net Team

June 7, 2022

Responsibility for the enforcement of health and safety legislation is split between the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and local authority inspectors (eg environmental health officers).

The split is dependent on the main activity of the premises being inspected and is detailed in the Health and Safety (Enforcing Authority) Regulations 1998.

Inspectors from the HSE and the local authority have the same powers of enforcement as detailed in the Health and safety at Work act 1974. Employers should also be aware that they face enforcement by other inspectors, eg the Fire and Rescue Authority. They have similar, but not necessarily identical, powers.

Employers’ Duties

Under the Health and Safety at Work, etc Act 1974, employers must:

  • allow inspectors to exercise their powers
  • not obstruct inspectors (obstruction may lead to prosecution)
  • obey the reasonable directions of inspectors
  • comply with any enforcement notices served on them by inspectors.

Employees’ Duties

Under the Health and Safety at Work, etc Act 1974, employees must:

  • co-operate with inspectors
  • allow themselves to be interviewed by an inspector and answer questions
  • give a written statement to an inspector, if requested, unless they are under caution.

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