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    Liaising with Authorities

    The Health and Safety Executive will take enforcement action to ensure duty holders:

    • Deal immediately with serious risks (so they prevent harm).
    • Comply with the law.
    • Are held to account if they fail in their responsibilities.

    The health and Safety Executive enforcement action is proportionate, direct, consistent, transparent and accountable.

    Types of enforcement options available to an HSE Inspector

    The HSE may chose to use an arsenal of options such as providing information and advice face-to-face or in writing.

    • Serving notices on duty holders
    • Withdrawing approvals
    • Varying licenses, conditions or exemptions
    • Issuing simple cautions
    • Prosecution
    Two hands shaking in partnership of business.

    The HSE will make clear to duty holders which matters are subject to enforcement, and the measures they must take to achieve compliance (including timescales).


    Powers of inspectors

    Inspectors appointed by an enforcing authority under section 19 of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 (HSWA) have broad powers to carry into effect any of the relevant statutory provisions.

    The powers set out in sections 20(2) and 25 HSWA include powers to:

    • Enter any premises which inspectors think it necessary to enter for the purposes of enforcing HSWA and the relevant statutory provisions.
    • They may only enter at a ‘reasonable time’, unless they think there is a situation which may be dangerous.
    • If they have reasonable cause to apprehend serious obstruction, they may take a police officer.
    • Order areas to be left undisturbed.
    • take measurements, photographs and recordings.
    • take samples and take possession of, and carry out tests on, articles and substances that appear to have caused (or be likely to cause) danger.
    • Require the production of, inspect and take copies of relevant documents.
    • Require anyone they think might give them relevant information to answer questions and sign a declaration of the truth of the answers.
    • Require facilities and assistance to be provided.
    • Seize and make harmless (by destruction if necessary) any article or substance which they have reasonable cause to believe is a cause of imminent danger of serious personal injury.

    Inspectors are also given any other power which is necessary for the purpose of carrying into effect the relevant statutory provisions.


    How to challenge/appeal

    The HSE also give duty holders advice on their right to challenge/appeal. There are different routes for this, depending on the enforcement action.  At Agility Risk & Compliance we can aid you with information on your challenge or appeal.


    What happens after enforcement action?

    After any enforcement action the HSE will:

    • Follow up to check that any necessary changes have been made and actioned.
    • Publish data on notices served and prosecutions taken.


    Fee for intervention

    If you’ve broken the law, you will have to pay for the time it takes the HSE to help you put things right. This is called a ‘fee for intervention’ (FFI) and is currently £157 per hour for that service.

    The fee will include the costs covering the time of the entire original visit. The total amount recovered will be based on the amount of time it takes HSE to identify the breach and help you put things right (including office work), multiplied by the hourly rate.

    Contact Agility R&C

    Agility Risk & Compliance Ltd provide tailored solutions to mitigate risk and improve compliance in Health and Safety, HR, Training, and Occupational Health.

    If you have an enquiry please call us on 0330 043 0051 or email us on

    Existing clients call our 24-hour service and you will be directed to your expert consultant.

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