Did you know that when an improvement or prohibition notice is issued by the HSE your company are added to the HSE Public Register and it remains on there for 5 years.The public register can be found at http://www.hse.gov.uk/notices/. The register can be accessed by anyone who is interested in checking on a specific business who they may be considering using.
Any notices that are appealed are not entered onto the register, and a 9 week time period is allowed to elapse after a notice is issued before adding it to the register.
Should you be taken to court for a breach of health and safety regulations there are various penalties that may be handed down by the courts based on section 33 of the Health and Safety At Work Act 1974 (as amended).
Action by the courts, Health and safety law gives the courts considerable scope to punish offenders and to deter others, including imprisonment for some offences. Unlimited fines may be imposed by higher courts. HSE will continue to seek to raise the courts’ awareness of the gravity of health and safety offences and of the full extent of their sentencing powers, while recognising that it is for the courts to decide whether or not someone is guilty and what penalty if any to impose on conviction.
These are Failing to comply with an improvement or prohibition notice, or a court remedy order (issued under the HSW Act sections 21, 22 and 42 respectively): Lower court maximum £20 000 and/or 12 months’ imprisonment* Higher court maximum Unlimited fine and/or 2 years’ imprisonment
Breach of sections 2–6 of the HSW Act, which set out the general duties of employers, self-employed persons, persons who have control of premises, employees, manufacturers and suppliers to safeguard the health and safety of employees and members of the public who may be affected by work activities: Lower court maximum £20 000 and/or 12 months’ imprisonment* Higher court maximum Unlimited fine and/or 2 years’ imprisonment Most other breaches of the HSW Act,† contravening licence requirements and breaches of all health and safety regulations under the Act.
Regulations impose both general and more specific duties, such as the requirements to carry out a suitable and sufficient risk assessment or to provide suitable personal protective equipment. Licensing requirements apply to high hazard activities such as nuclear installations and asbestos stripping: Lower court maximum £20 000 and/or 12 months’ imprisonment* Higher court maximum Unlimited fine and/or 2 years’ imprisonment
* The sentencing option of 12 months applies in Scotland but will only apply in England and Wales when section 154(1) of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 is enacted. † For some offences under section 33 of the HSW Act the penalties vary. Details can be found in the explanatory note to the Health and Safety (Offences) Act 2008. Enforcement Policy Statement 11 of 12 pages Health and Safety Executive
On conviction of directors for indictable offences in connection with the management of a company (all of the above, by virtue of the HSW Act sections 36 and 37), the courts may also make a disqualification order (Company Directors Disqualification Act 1986, sections 1 and 2). The courts have exercised this power following health and safety convictions. Health and safety inspectors draw this power to the court’s attention whenever appropriate. Lower court maximum 5 years’ disqualification Higher court maximum 15 years’ disqualification.
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