Law enforcement

Who Enforces Health and Safety Law?

Health and safety law is enforced by inspectors from your local authority or by inspectors from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

Inspectors have the right to enter any workplace without giving notice, though notice may be given where the inspector thinks it is appropriate. On a normal inspection visit an inspector would expect to look at the workplace, the work activities, your management of health and safety, and to check that you are complying with health and safety law. The inspector may offer guidance or advice to help you. He/she may also talk to employees and their representatives, take photographs and samples, serve improvement notices and take action if there is a risk to health and safety that needs to be dealt with immediately.


How is Health and Safety Law Enforced?

On finding a breach of health and safety law, the inspector will decide what action to take. The action will depend on the nature of the breach, and will be based on the principles set out in the Health and Safety Commission’s (HSC) Enforcement Policy Statement. The inspector should provide employees or their representatives with information about any action taken, or that is necessary for the purpose of keeping them informed about matters affecting their health, safety and welfare.

Inspectors may take Enforcement Action in several ways to deal with a breach of the law.



A duty holder will be told in writing about the right of appeal to an Industrial Tribunal when an improvement or prohibition notice is served. The appeal mechanism is also explained on the reverse of the notice. The duty holder will be told:

  • how to appeal, and given a form with which to appeal;
  • where and within what period an appeal may be brought; and
  • that the remedial action required by an improvement notice is suspended while an appeal is pending. 

Last Updated on Friday, June 16, 2023