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Health and Safety regulations are only as good as enforcement. An employer needs to make sure they comply with all the relevant rules and regulations. An employee makes sure they follow the rules and regulations of the company. The HSE’s job is to come out as enforcement officers and inspectors to make sure that companies are following the rules. They will also attend after an accident or incident.
The HSE has the power to come into any business, to make on the spot inspections, to check records and make sure they fully comply with all safety legislation. Health and safety legislation can include all aspects of health and safety within the workplace, infection control, food hygiene regulations, just to name a few.
The HSE has the power to take legal action against the employer. The laws allow the criminal action to be taken. This would be done in a court and the action would be by the state. The Civil action allows someone to take action for negligence and allow a claim for compensation.
When the HSE investigate a business they are looking to gather facts and looking for any possible breaches of legislation. Once they have the facts they then consider what action needs to be taken and whether enforcement is required.
The HSE or other authorities have the power to enforce in different ways. One way would be to issue an improvement notice. This would give the company time to take corrective action. Prohibition notices can be served on an employer or person where there is a serious risk of personal injury or death. These can close down a machine on a production line or a complete business until the correct action has been taken.