Latest Information from the HSE

Updated 30th November 2016


HSE is consulting on changes to the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 (GSIUR) – share your views by 27 January 2017. The changes include making the timing of landlords’ annual gas safety checks more flexible, and clarifying that only gas safety defects should be recorded.    

Find out more and download the consultative document


Fragile roofs

11/11/16: Three fined after man loses life due to fall through fragile roof

Further information

Free leaflet – Fragile roofs

Busy Builder leaflet –Fragile roofs: What you need to know as a busy builder, contractor or maintenance worker

Busy Builder leaflet – Fragile roofs: What you need to know as a building owner, user or managing agent 

 Roofwork/Working at height

02/11/16: Worker dies when temporary platform collapses

09/11/16: Window fitter in court after worker suffered fatal head injuries

17/11/16: International Engineering Company in Court over workers death

22/11/16: Construction company fined after worker fell 6 meters

 Further information

Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015

Busy Builder leaflet – Construction Phase Plan

Construction Safety Topic Assessing all work at height

Construction Safety TopicWorking at height

Hand arm vibration (HAVS)

18/11/16: Council fined £250,000 for not protecting workers’ health

 Further information

Managing Construction Health Risks – Vibration

 Gas safety

07/11/16: Builder handed suspended prison sentence and community service following unsafe gas work

 Further information

Domestic gas health and safety


23/11/16: Self-employed builder electrocuted at work

Further information

Construction Safety Topic – Electricity: Systems in buildings


RR1078 – The use of vehicle structure in load securing on heavy goods vehicles 

Safety Alert: Offshore Cranes Safety Systems 

Construction Industry Advisory Committee (CONIAC) – Minutes of meeting held on 17 August 2016

Health and safety statistics 2016

View the latest health and safety statistics for the construction industry

View the health and safety statistics for Great Britain

See our new annual summary booklet, presented in an infographic-style format

Buy our Health and Safety Vital Statistics 2016 poster


The Stop. Make a Change. campaign being organised by the Civil Engineering Contractors Association will see leading contractors and clients stand down work on the morning of 18 April 2017.

Firms taking part will use the stand down to discuss with employees and suppliers how the industry can work together to boost its performance in relation to health, safety and wellbeing.

Companies looking to get involved can contact


WWT events

Improve the health and safety of your business by attending a health and safety event near you. Most of the Working Well Together (WWT) events we list are FREE and all provide an opportunity to meet like-minded people, see interesting new equipment and get confidential advice. 

There are no current listed events but please check the WWT events pages to find out what will be happening near you in the future.  

Other events 

Find out about our first ever Stress Summit – London, 16th March 2017

Visit the HSE website to find more many national events, conferences and HSL training.

Stay Safe this Christmas

However you celebrate the holiday season, it should be a safe and largely stress-free environment for you and your loved ones to enjoy. Sadly, this is often not the case, as Christmas is in fact the time of year when most accidents occur. While there is no way to ensure total safety at this or indeed any time of the year, there are many simple steps you can perform in order to avoid the chances of causing a Christmas calamity.

Here are a few simple but efficient measures you can perform in order to avoid accidents, and prevent some not-so-merry mishaps:

  • Don’t overload plug sockets: Fairy lights are a much-loved element of Christmas, but please be mindful of attempting to recreate the huge displays organized by your local council! An extension lead or socket should not use more than 13 amps or 3,000 watts of energy, so be sure to check the specifications of all your electrical items before use. These days there are lots of battery and solar powered options available for indoor and outdoor use, so this may be worth considering to reduce the number of plugs.
  • Don’t leave open flames unattended: Candles and open fires are a part of the traditional Christmas ideal, but they should always be treated with caution! People are 50% more likely to die in a house fire at Christmas than at any other time of year, so make sure that you are not leaving flames unsupervised, particularly around cards and paper decorations. On the same note, be sure to buy the correct batteries for any electrical items that have been purchased as gifts; you shouldn’t be tempted to remove them from your smoke alarm!
  • Use the proper equipment when reaching for something at height: When decorating your home or removing things from the attic, please be sure to use the proper ladder or step required for the height, do not use chairs and stools!
  • Take care in the Kitchen: Be sure to keep children away from hot water and cooking fat, and avoid the consumption of alcohol when cooking. Also ensure that everything is properly cooked and in-date before serving, to avoid food poisoning.
  • Keep Christmas plants away from children, animals and vulnerable people: Mistletoe, orange berries and the Christmas rose are all poisonous, so be sure to keep them out of harms way, or avoid them in favour of faux versions if you can.
  • Be extra wary of choking hazards: Small parts from broken ornaments, packaging, crackers and the like could be lethal to small children, so be on the lookout for any stray items in their reach.
  • Don’t drink and drive: It may seem like a rather obvious point to make at any time of the year, but at Christmas people are more likely to relax and loose track of how much alcohol they’ve consumed, or are more willing to take risks on Christmas Day because they expect the roads to be quieter. Please use the same caution at Christmas as at any other time of the year to stay safe and well!

Secure your site over the Christmas Holiday closure

HSE is reminding construction managers to secure their sites to reduce the risks of accidents during the Christmas shutdown.

In past years, members of the public have been killed or injured in construction related incidents. Incidents including materials being blown off site, scaffolding collapsing or children gaining access to poorly protected sites.

Before closing sites for the holiday, HSE recommends contractors ensure loose materials is secure and scaffolding is properly supported. It should be checked particularly after bad weather.

View the HSE’s scaffold checklist.

Children often see poorly guarded sites as playgrounds, so contractors should do all they can to help prevent them gaining access in the first place. They should also ensure that potentially dangerous areas such as deep excavations are secure.

View the HSE’s guidance on how to protect the public.

Should the site be closed for a significant period, it may be sensible to arrange for regular checks to take place to ensure that the site remains safe and secure


In this article we are going to investigate the 12 health and safety myths of Christmas and discover where and how the myths were started. The myths are courtesy of the HSE myth buster panel.

  1. Workers are banned from putting up Christmas decorations in the office

What the HSE Myth Busters Challenge Panel says

Bah Humbug! Each year we hear of company’s banning their workers from putting up Christmas decorations in their offices for ‘health and safety’ reasons, or requiring the work to be done by a ‘qualified’ person.

Most organisations including HSE and local councils manage to put up their decorations, celebrating the spirit of Christmas without a fuss. They just sensibly provide their staff with suitable step ladders to put up decorations rather than expecting staff to balance on wheelie chairs.

How did this myth start?

This myth came to the attention of the HSE after Royal Bank of Scotland had banned staff in its City offices from putting up Christmas decorations because it could cause fire or injury. A memo was circulated to employees which said: “On no account should anyone stand on desks or chairs and attempt to hang decorations themselves, in case of injury”. Staff were told to book an engineer who would hang the decorations on the ceiling for them.

  1. Indoor Christmas lights need a portable appliance test (PAT) every year

What the HSE Myth Busters Challenge Panel says

Lots of company’s waste money in the false belief they need to test their Christmas lights annually, or even don’t put them up at all! By following a few sensible precautions, such as checks by the user for obvious signs of damage, every workplace can switch on safely and sparkle!

How did this myth start?

Poor advice was given on-line from Christmas light suppliers that if you are buying second-hand Christmas lights that you need to make sure they are PAT tested. This advice evolved into the myth that your Christmas lights must need PAT testing every year.

  1. You can’t throw out sweets at panto’s

What the HSE Myth Busters Challenge Panel says

Health and safety rules were blamed when a panto stopped throwing out sweets to the audience. In fact they were worried about the cost of compensation if anyone got hurt.

Realistically, if a panto throws out sweets the chances of someone being seriously hurt is incredibly low. It’s certainly not something HSE worries about – as far as we’re concerned, this is a case of ‘Oh yes you can!’

How did this myth start?

Back in 2010, council officials decided it was a health and safety risk to throw hard boiled sweets into the audience of an Aladdin pantomime in Barrow, Cumbria. They recommended that marshmallows were a much better option.

  1. Santa needs a seatbelt in his sleigh

How did this myth start?

A UK national newspaper published an article stating health and safety regulations are forcing Santa who makes a visit to Halesowen in the West Midlands to wear a specially made seatbelt. This article prompted a response from the HSE. You can read the response below…

What the HSE Myth Busters Challenge Panel says

Colin Bower rightly describes as ‘ludicrous’ the decision that Halesowen’s Santa Claus must wear a seat belt in his sleigh. He then makes a reindeer style leap to assume that the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) insisted on this stricture. HSE had no involvement whatsoever in this matter; our concern is addressing the risks that cause 240 workplace deaths and over 140,000 significant injuries a year.

  1. Second hand toys can’t be donated for ‘health and safety’ reasons

How did this myth start?

The HSE were prompted to reply to an article about Amman Valley Hospital’s toybox appeal where people were asked to donate new toys for children and young people. It was stated that the toys must be new for health and safety reasons.

What the HSE Myth Busters Challenge Panel says

Following your recent story about the excellent Carmarthenshire Christmas Toybox scheme, I would like to point out that there are no health and safety reasons for not donating second hand toys.

Although I’m sure the organisers will want to make sure any items are clean and in good condition, there is no reason why a good second-hand toy should not make a great present for a child over Christmas.

It takes extra time and manpower to check the condition of used toys and there may be valid insurance or compensation issues involved, so I fully sympathise with the difficulties organisers face, but the good news is there no health and safety regulations saying this can’t be done.

  1. Traditional shopping centre Christmas trees scaled back or replaced by artificial alternatives

What the HSE Myth Busters Challenge Panel says

We often hear excuses about the way shops and town centres have (or haven’t!) been decorated, especially if they appear less festive than in previous years.

These include traditional Christmas trees being scaled back or replaced with artificial alternatives for ‘health and safety’ reasons.

A traditional Christmas tree will probably cost a bit more and perhaps that’s one of the real reasons behind these decisions – but let’s be clear, health and safety laws exist to prevent people being seriously injured or made unwell at work, they are certainly not there to ‘cut down’ the festive spirit!

How did this myth start?

Back in 2009, a fake Christmas tree was assembled in Poole, Dorset due to the risk of a real Christmas tree being blown over in the wind and injuring shoppers. Residents of the area protested against the fake Christmas tree (which looked like a giant traffic cone) by ruining the tree with vandalism. The residents joined a Facebook campaign calling for the artificial tree to be replaced. The tree was replaced with a 30ft traditional Christmas tree.

  1. Seats removed from shops – despite weary Christmas shoppers wanting to rest their feet

What the HSE Myth Busters Challenge Panel says

Give it a rest! When Christmas shoppers have been dashing through the crowds for those last minute bargains all they want is a quick sit down to rest their weary feet.

So you can imagine their dismay when they find all the seats have been removed for ‘health and safety’ reasons!

Of course shops need to manage crowds of people safely, but it’s a myth to suggest that it’s a requirement to remove seats at busy times, instead a bit of common sense should ensure seating is located in a sensible place.

How did this myth start?

Seats were removed in a shopping centre in Carlisle at Christmas time and were replaced with kiosks to the outcry of local residents. Discussions started turning into health and safety reasons for the removal of the seating. The manager of the shopping centre had no other choice but to release a statement saying that the seats were being removed so they could be replaced in January.

  1. Carol singers are a health and safety risk

What the HSE Myth Busters Challenge Panel says

Surely no-one would object to hearing the dulcet tones of carol singers serenading us in the run up to Christmas!

Well, in the past few years we’ve heard of insurance companies producing comprehensive ‘health and safety’ guides for people wishing to take part in this age old tradition, and parish councils ordering groups of singers to apply for a permit in order to stop them upsetting home-owners.

Well-intentioned pieces of advice such as ‘don’t sing in the road’ and ‘don’t carry large amounts of cash’ are not health and safety requirements, they are simple common sense.

How did this myth start?

Carol-singing Brownies and Guide were banned from a shopping centre in Hemel Hempstead because they were considered a health and safety risk as their presence obstructed fire escape routes. In previous years, a group of up to 100 girls would attend. The ban was lifted when the manager of the centre offered to allow 20 girls to sing.

  1. Children are banned from throwing snowballs

What the HSE Myth Busters Challenge Panel says

Every year we hear inaccurate stories about children who aren’t allowed to throw snowballs, and swimmers who can’t take their traditional winter dip in the local lake. All this in the name of health and safety.

If we spend time on the trivial risks there’s a chance we’ll miss the most important ones. We need to focus on finding ways for things to happen, not reasons to stop them – a sensible approach to managing risk focuses on practical action to tackle risks that cause real harm and suffering.

How did this myth start?

As the HSE states, every year they hear about snowball health and safety risks but there was one incident that took place in 2007 that made the headlines. Pupils were sent home and suspended from a school in Peterborough for throwing snowballs. The headteacher of the school defended the decision saying the teenagers had broken a snowball fight ban.

  1. If you clear snow from outside your business or home you are likely to get sued

What the HSE Myth Busters Challenge Panel says

Dear Editor,

I would like to make it clear that under health and safety legislation nobody who volunteers to support their community by clearing pavements during icy conditions should feel they are in danger of being sued.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) encourages a common sense approach to health and safety, and agrees with your reader that “clearing the snow and ice…makes it easier for people to get about.”

HSE is focused on the real safety risks at work, and we think it is ridiculous that people should feel prevented from helping others, through a fear of being held responsible for an accident.

How did this myth start?

This myth started after the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health gave a warning that clearing show could lead to legal action. This statement prompted the response from the HSE above. This statement also caused uproar around the country with even Ann Widdecombe, the former Tory minister and critic of Britain’s burgeoning “compensation culture”, saying “The idea you can be sued for being helpful is absolutely ludicrous.”

  1. Health and safety prevents people putting coins in Christmas puddings

What the HSE Myth Busters Challenge Panel says

Finding a coin in your pudding on Christmas day – it’s a tradition that’s lasted for more than 500 years and is said to grant you a good luck wish for the coming year.

However, killjoys have been stirring up trouble saying it’s too risky to put coins inside puddings for ‘health and safety’ reasons.

Occupational health and safety law is concerned with what goes on in your workplace, not what you’re eating after a Turkey dinner – it doesn’t prevent coins or any other lucky charms being put in puddings.

If we had one wish, it would be to stamp out the health and safety Scrooges who try to dampen the Christmas spirit.

How did this myth start?

Sainsbury’s supermarket had hopes of selling Christmas puddings with “Lucky Sixpences” inside for Christmas in 2005. They were not allowed to go ahead with the plans as putting the coins in the puddings would “constitute a choking hazard” and because many shop-bought Christmas puddings are now heated in a microwave oven which could be dangerous.

  1. Elf n Safety ruins Christmas!

What the HSE Myth Busters Challenge Panel says

Don’t believe everything you read!

Over the past 11 myths our mission has been to ‘sleigh’ the most commonly encountered festive health and safety myths. Yet, the myth we hear most often of all is that ‘elf n safety’ has ruined Christmas.

We hear of events being cancelled, Santa stopped from parading in his sleigh, and festive displays being banned, all blamed on ‘Health and Safety’ reasons.

Health and safety laws exist to provide safeguards against people being seriously injured or made unwell at work, not to hamper fun activities.

So on that note, we’d like to say Bah Humbug to all the festive killjoys out there and a very happy Christmas to everyone else!

How did this myth start?

We would like to round this article up in the same manner as the HSE by wishing you all a very merry Christmas and a happy and healthy New Year!


Latest Information from the HSE

 Updated 17th November 2016

Metal company fined after worker loses foot

A Bedfordshire metal company has been fined for safety breaches after a worker suffered severe leg injuries and lost most of his foot.

Updated 16th November 2016

Man killed at fish processing firm

A Plymouth company has been fined £500,000 after an employee suffered fatal injuries when a stack of boxes of frozen fish fell on him. HSE’s investigation found there was no safe system of work or instruction to staff on how pallets should be stored and there was no written procedure for dealing with falls of stock when they occurred. More information on the accident and prosecution can be found on HSE’s Press Release.

HSE’s guidance note ‘Pallet Safety’ provides practical advice to those responsible for the design, manufacture, purchase and use of pallets as a base for assembling, storing, handling and transporting goods and loads. Download your free copy from HSE’s Website.

Worker loses hand in blending machine

An Ellesmere Port based home brewing kit manufacturer has been fined £8,000 and ordered to pay prosecution costs of £7,004 after an employee’s right hand was severed while cleaning a blending machine while attempting to dry the rim. More information on the accident and fine can be found on HSE’s Press Release.

Agency worker injured at West Napton malting factory

An agency worker was injured when he fell from a ladder at a malting factory in West Napton, Malton.  The company was fined £100,000 and ordered to pay costs of over £2,250. More information on how the accident happened and the prosecution can be found on HSE’s Press Release.

More information on working at height and prevention of falls from height can be found on HSE’s Working at Height Webpages.

Bakery fined for safety failings

A bakery company based in Hertfordshire has been fined £3,000 plus £1912.80 costs for three different safety failings.

  1. The electrical network was not operated or maintained in a safe condition
  2. Guarding to machinery was not up to standard
  3. No health surveillance for exposure to flour dust

Further information can be found on HSE’s Press Release.

Paper mill worker suffers severe crushing injuries

A Halifax paper mill firm has been fined for safety breaches after a worker suffered severe crush injuries to his right hand. The company was fined £120,000.00 with £6,354.00 costs when the workers finger was severed. For more information on the accident view HSE’s Press Release.

Death of worker in printing machine

A plastics manufacturer from Cambridgeshire has been fined and given a suspended sentence after a worker died after he was crushed by printing machinery. The worker entered the printing machine to apply thinners to the ink when the machine started trapping them. More information on the accident and fine can be found on HSE’s Press Release.

Cardboard recycler fined

A sole trader who recycles cardboard has been fined after a 19-year-old employee suffered severe damage to his left hand when it was drawn into a roller press that had no guards on it. More information on the accident and fine can be found on HSE’s Press Release.

HSE has webpages dedicated to machinery guarding, visit the Basic Safety Mistakes Webpages 

for more information.

Apprentice loses finger on rotary press

The owner of a business that manufactures specialist adhesive tape for industrial applications has been fined after a young apprentice lost his finger on a rotary die press while adjusting guides. More information on the accident and fine can be found on HSE’s Press Release.

HSE Inspection plan 2016-17

HSE are to carrying out a programme of targeted inspections in the food manufacturing sector between 1 October and 31 December of this year. The inspections are focussing on:

  • the control of musculoskeletal risks in all food manufacturing sectors,
  • the control of flour dust exposure – an asthmagen – in bakeries and grain mills,
  • and the control of exposure to Bovine Tuberculosis – that can be transmitted to humans -in abattoirs that slaughter cattle.

Health and safety at work statistics published for 2016

Health and safety at work statistics published for 2016

HSE’s latest annual statistics have been published and show that while Britain continues to be one of the safest places to work in Europe, many workers are still being injured or made ill by work.

The statistics show that an estimated 30.4 million working days were lost due to work related ill health or injury in 2015/16 and the estimated costs to Britain of injuries and ill health due to current working conditions is £14.1 billion (2014/15 figures based on 2014 prices). For more information visit HSE’s Statistics Website.

2016 European Week for Safety and Health at Work celebrated across Europe!

Once again the European Week for Safety and Health at Work proved a big success. The week of 24 – 28 October saw activities take place all over Europe aimed at promoting healthy ageing and sustainable work for all ages.

Things kicked off on 24 October with, among others, a conference in Bratislava organised by the Slovak EU Council Presidency. The conference, entitled ‘A better preventive culture in a new labour market’, was attended by EU-OSHA director Dr Christa Sedlatschek who presented the campaign’s latest findings. The conference provided an excellent opportunity to discuss major challenges for OSH in the future, such as the demographic change. Among many others, labour inspectors from Cyprus, Poland and Slovakia showed their active involvement in the campaign and the European Week.

In Spain events took place in over 40 cities. Providing real solutions to businesses, workers and key stakeholders on how to achieve a healthy, sustainable working life was the main focus.

In Madrid a video screening, workshop and technical days took place – all focusing on the importance of sustainable work at all ages. And in Barcelona a seminar looked at the various advantages and inconveniences to having different age groups in the workplace.

On 28 October another focal point, the Swedish Work Environment Authority, held its annual Swedish OSH parliament event in Stockholm. Dr Sedlatschek was in attendance as Professor of Occupational and Environmental Medicine at Uppsala University, Eva Vingård, presented new research on “Healthy workplaces for women and men of all ages”.

The European Week was also promoted by The Institute for the Advancement of Safety at Work in Croatia who hosted the Good Morning Croatia television show to discuss the Healthy Workplaces for All Ages E-guide and how to adopt a holistic approach to health and safety at work.

As well as on television, there was online promotion by EU-OSHA’s media partners. PPE.ORG got things underway with a Twitter chat ahead of the European Week on 19 October. This was followed on 26 October by an exclusive ‘virtual Q&A session’ between media partners and EU-OSHA director Dr Sedlatschek who reminded us that, ‘healthy working lives are good for individuals’ wellbeing and the economy. Healthy workplaces are not a luxury; they are essential.

Media partners also organised events to showcase the campaign. In Poland Promotor BHP hosted the ‘Human Factor in Safety’ conference to share tools and experiences for creating safe working conditions in the mining, fuel and energy and metallurgical industries. In Germany, the ISSA Mining Newsletter organised the first Vision Zero Europe Conference focusing on the prevention of accidents and illnesses at work.

Seguranca Comportamental in Portugal also organised several events and seminars including a course on preventive health and safety for young technicians and another looking at age as a factor in accidents at work. A number of other media partners, including Safety Management, Seguridad Laboral, Prevention World, Rhsaludable, Gesunde Arbeit and PrevenBlog also got involved in promoting European Week events.

EU-OSHA’s Official Campaign Partners were also busy hosting a number of activities and events. For example, In EU-OSHA’s home city of Bilbao, PESI, the Spanish Technology Platform for Industrial Safety, along with its European counterpart ETPIS (the Cross-ETP Initiative on Industrial Safety), held the European Forum S2R, ‘Future Safety & Security Research in Europe 2016’.

All these events were the perfect opportunity to bring together EU-OSHA’s network of partners, workers and employers together to exchange best practices and generate ideas on how make workplaces more sustainable. If you were at one of the many events, don’t forget to share your stories and post your pictures on our Facebook event page.

To find out more about safety and health at work visit the Healthy Workplaces for All Ages campaign website, and don’t forget to follow the campaign on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, using the hashtag #EUhealthyworkplaces to keep up to date with the latest news and events. You can subscribe to our newsletter via the campaign website

What to expect when a health and safety inspector calls

Who enforces health and safety law?

Health and safety law is enforced by inspectors from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) or by inspectors from your local authority.

Inspectors have the right to enter any workplace without giving notice, though notice may be given where the inspector thinks it is appropriate. On a normal inspection visit an inspector would expect to look at the workplace, the work activities, your management of health and safety, and to check that you are complying with health and safety law. The inspector may offer guidance or advice to help you. They may also talk to employees and their representatives, take photographs and samples, serve improvement notices and take action if there is a risk to health and safety which needs to be dealt with immediately.

Enforcing health and safety law

On finding a breach of health and safety law, the inspector will decide what action to take. The action will depend on the nature of the breach, and will be based on the principles set out in HSE’s Enforcement Policy Statement. The inspector should provide employees or their representatives with information about any action taken, or which is necessary for the purpose of keeping them informed about matters affecting their health, safety and welfare.

Inspectors may take enforcement action in several ways to deal with a breach of the law. In most cases these are:


Where the breach of the law is relatively minor, the inspector may tell the dutyholder, for example the employer or contractor, what to do to comply with the law, and explain why. The inspector will, if asked, write to confirm any advice, and to distinguish legal requirements from recommendations.

Improvement notice

Where the breach of the law is more serious, the inspector may issue an improvement notice to tell the dutyholder to do something to comply with the law. The inspector will discuss the improvement notice and, if possible, resolve points of difference before serving it. 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 dutyholder time to appeal to an Industrial Tribunal if they so wish (see ‘Appeals’ below). The inspector can take further legal action if the notice is not complied with within the specified time period.

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 allowing it to be resumed until remedial action has been taken. The notice will explain why the action is necessary. The dutyholder will be told in writing about the right of appeal to an Industrial Tribunal (see ‘Appeals’ below).


In some cases the inspector may consider that it is also necessary to initiate a prosecution. Decisions on whether to prosecute are informed by the principles in HSE’s Enforcement Policy Statement. Health and safety law gives the courts considerable scope for punishing offenders and deterring others. For example, a failure to comply with an improvement or prohibition notice, or a court remedy order, 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.

Fee for Intervention/Cost recovery

A Fee for Intervention (FFI) cost recovery scheme came into effect on 1 October 2012 and applies where HSE is the enforcing authority.

The Health and Safety (Fees) Regulations 2012 put a duty on HSE to recover its costs from dutyholders who are found to be in material breach of health and safety law. A material breach is where you have broken a health and safety law and the inspector judges this is serious enough for them to notify you in writing. This will either be a notification of contravention, an improvement or prohibition notice, or a prosecution.

Dutyholders have to pay a fee if an inspector identifies one or more material breaches of the law during a visit to their workplace. The fee is based on the amount of time that the inspector has had to spend identifying the breach, helping you to put it right, investigating and taking enforcement action.

Dutyholders who comply with the law, or where a breach is not material, will not pay a fee for any work that HSE does with them.

Further information on FFI, the hourly rate and what it could mean for you is available on the HSE website at


A dutyholder will be told in writing about the right of appeal to an Industrial Tribunal when an improvement or prohibition notice is served. The appeal mechanism is also explained on the reverse of the notice. The dutyholder will be told: n how to appeal, and given a form with which to appeal; n where and within what period an appeal may be brought; and n that the remedial action required by an improvement notice is suspended while an appeal is pending.

Information to employees or their representatives

During a normal inspection visit an inspector will expect to check that those in charge, eg employers, have arrangements in place for consulting and informing employees or their representatives, eg safety representatives, about health and safety matters. Such arrangements are required by law.

An inspector will meet or speak to employees or their representatives during a visit, wherever possible, unless this is clearly inappropriate because of the purpose of the visit. When they meet, employees or their representatives should always be given the opportunity to speak privately to the inspector, if they so wish.

The inspector will provide employees or their representatives with certain information where necessary for the purpose of keeping them informed about matters affecting their health, safety and welfare. This information relates to the workplace or activity taking place there, and action which the inspector has taken or proposes to take. The type of information that an inspector will provide includes: n matters which an inspector considers to be of serious concern; n details of any enforcement action taken by the inspector; and n an intention to prosecute the business (but not before the dutyholder is informed).

Depending on the circumstances, the inspector may provide this information orally or in writing.