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On the basis of risk, they concentrate their duties where the risks are likely to be highest and where it will have the greatest impact, in particular:


• Where they have evidence that health and safety performance is poor either in your own business or sector


• If you operate in one of a number of hazardous industries


• When they want to investigate a specific incident (accident or work related illness)


• When they want to investigate a specific complaint


The HSE and LA staff also carry out a limited number of visits to:

• Make an assessment of the risks in new businesses or premises


• Target certain geographical areas or sectors usually to concentrate on specific priorities


• Do random spot checks on compliance


• Keep abreast of new developments and processes or for training purposes

HSE Statement:


"HSE's emphasis is on preventing death, injury and ill-health in Great Britain's workplaces.


But we will come down hard on people who put others at risk - particularly where we find deliberate flouting of the law."

What action does the HSE take if health and safety laws are flouted?

199 cases were prosecuted by HSE and, in Scotland, the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) and had a verdict reached in 2020/21


£26.9 million in fines were issued to duty holders found guilty of health and safety offences in 2020/21, compared to £34.9 million in 2019/20.


The average fine per case was £145,000. In 2019/20, this was £107,000, representing an increase of 35%.

185 of the 199 cases had a conviction secured (for at least one offence) where a verdict was reached in 2020/21, a conviction rate of 93%.

In the 2020/21 period a total of 7 cases received fines of £1 million or more. The average level of fine has also shown an increase since the sentencing guidelines came into effect, rising from £54,000 per conviction in 2014/15 to £145,000 per conviction in 2020/21.

How does the HSE enforce Health and Safety laws and regulations?

The HSE has a range of tools at its disposal in seeking to secure compliance of organisations, employers, self employed etc with the law and to ensure a proportionate response to criminal offences.


This includes Inspectors:


• Offering duty holders information, and advice, both face to face and in writing


• Warning a an employer that in the opinion of the inspector, they are failing to comply with the law


• Withdrawing approvals, vary licence conditions or exemptions, issue simple cautions


•  Serving prohibition notices compliancy

What penalties can be imposed?

Following a successful prosecution, the courts will decide what penalty to impose. As well as imposing fines, the courts can imprison offenders.


In March 2022, an aluminium recycling company was fined £2million (the highest corporate manslaughter fine for a single charge to date) after it pleaded guilty to corporate manslaughter following the death of an employee who sustained fatal head injuries when his head came into contact with the moving parts of a chain conveyor.

Does the HSE charge businesses for its services?

Since the 1 October 2012 when the  Health and Safety (Fees) Regulations were introduced,  the HSE has implemented a fee for intervention (FFI) cost recovery scheme.


The Regulations placed a duty on the HSE to recover its costs for carrying out its regulatory functions from those found to be in material breach of health and safety law.


The HSE and the government believe it is right anyone who breaks health and safety laws should pay for the HSE's time in putting matters right. Without FFI, this is paid for from the public purse.

The Fee for Intervention hourly rate, is currently £163. can help you meet the latest health and safety legislation with a part or complete Compliance Audit.


This bespoke exercise will detail where you are compliant with the regalations and assist you in any  areas that require further action.

Health & Safety Consultancy, Information & Management

How does the Health and Safety Exexutive (HSE) & Local Authorities (LA) decide which organisations or businesses or employers to visit? 

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