How the council enforces health and safety legislation

If during a health and safety inspection the inspector finds a breach of health and safety law, they will decide what action to take. The action will depend on the nature of the breach and previous compliance of the company, and will be based on the principles set out in the council's health and safety enforcement policy. This policy is available from the downloads section of this page.

Enforcement action includes:

  • Informal action - Where the breach of the law is relatively minor, the inspector may tell the employer or contractor what they need to do to comply with the law, and explain why. The inspector will, if asked, write to confirm any advice that has been given distinguish legal requirements from best practice advice
  • Improvement notice - Where the breach of the law is more serious, the inspector may issue an improvement notice to tell the employers to do something to comply with the law. The notice will say what needs to be done, why, and by when. The time period within which to take the remedial action will be at least 21 days to allow the employer to appeal to an Employment Tribunal if they so wish
  • Prohibition notice - Where an activity involves, or will involve, a risk of serious personal injury, the inspector may serve a prohibition notice prohibiting the activity immediately or after a specified time period, and not allow it to be resumed until remedial action has been taken. The employer will be told in writing about the right of appeal to an Employment Tribunal
  • Prosecution - In some cases the inspector may consider that it is also necessary to initiate a prosecution. For example, a failure to comply with an improvement or prohibition notice carries a fine of up to £20,000, or six months imprisonment, or both. Unlimited fines and in some cases imprisonment may be imposed by higher Courts  

How to appeal enforcement action

Employers will be told in writing that they have the right of appeal to an Employment Tribunal when an improvement or prohibition notice is served. They will also be advised on how to appeal, where the hearing will take place, and the period in which the appeal can be brought.

How to make a complaint

To make a complaint about a business for which the council has enforcement powers, contact the Food & Safety Team (see contacts section of this page) or complete our online complaint form. In general, the council is the main enforcing authority in retail, wholesale distribution, warehousing, hotel and catering premises, offices, and the consumer/leisure industries. For all other types of business, contact the Health & Safety Executive Health and Safety Executive This link will take you to an external website... .

Last reviewed: 02 - 05 - 2017

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