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HSE ENFORCEMENT POLICY REVISED

Revised version of HSE enforcement policy published

A revised version of the Enforcement Policy Statement (HSE41), which sets out the general principles and approach which the health and safety enforcing authorities (mainly HSE and local authorities) are expected to follow is now available. The policy identifies the general principles followed in deciding on enforcement action including the prosecution of individuals and corporate bodies etc.

For example, the policy states that Enforcing Authorities should normally prosecute where:  

  • death was a result of a breach of the legislation;
  • the gravity of an alleged offence, taken with the seriousness of any actual or potential harm, or the general record and approach of the offender warrants it;
  • there is reckless disregard of health and safety requirements;
  • repeated breaches which give rise to significant risk, or persistent and significant poor compliance;
  • work has been carried out without or in serious non-compliance with an appropriate licence or safety case;
  • standard of managing health and safety is far below what is required by law and gives rise to significant risk;
  • failure to comply with an improvement or prohibition notice, repetition of a breach that was subject to a simple caution;
  • false information has been supplied wilfully, or intent to deceive, in relation to a matter which gives rise to significant risk;
  • inspectors have been intentionally obstructed in the lawful course of their duties.

Comment: This is an important document for everyone with duties under health and safety legislation. It provides an insight into matters that require particular attention in order to reduce exposure to the risk of enforcement. There appear to be few substantive changes from the previous edition although it would have been more helpful if  HSE identified any key changes.

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