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The HSE have legal powers to visit and gain access to a business as well as take the action necessary to ensure they can check the whole workplace. They will need access to the records being kept as well as the business site. The law allows criminal action to be taken; this would be done in a court, and the action would be by the state.

Civil action allows someone to take action for negligence to allow a claim for compensation. The HSE or other local enforcement agencies can enforce in various ways.

An improvement notice gives time to improve the problem by taking corrective action. Prohibition notices are served on an employer or person where there is a serious risk or personal injury or death. These can close down a machine or business until the correct action has been taken.