Actions that may be taken by HSE inspectors

Informal notice: If the problem is a minor one, the inspector may simply explain what must be done to comply with the law. If asked, s/he will confirm any advice in writing.

Improvement notice: If the problem is more serious, the inspector may issue an improvement notice. This will state what needs to be done and the time limit by which it must be done. At least 21 days must be allowed for corrective action to be taken.

Prohibition notice: If the problem poses a serious risk, the inspector may give notice to stop the activity immediately and not allow it to be resumed until corrective action is taken. The notice will explain why such action is necessary.

Prosecution: A failure to act upon an improvement or prohibition notice may result in prosecution. The courts have the power to impose unlimited fines and, in some severe cases, imprisonment.

An employer has the right of appeal to an industrial tribunal when an improvement or prohibition notice is served should s/he disagree with it or feel that it is unjust. The instructions on how to appeal appear on the back of the notice.

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