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Ensuring health and safety at work

Local Authorities have a statutory responsibility to make adequate arrangements for the enforcement of Health and Safety law in relation to specified workplaces allocated to them. This policy encompasses the principles of fair, practical and consistent enforcement as set out in the Regulators Code, published by Regulatory Delivery, which is part of the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy. 


Officers will carry out duties in a fair, equitable and consistent manner. Inspectors are expected to exercise judgement in individual cases. Arrangements will be in place to promote consistency, including effective arrangements for liaison with other authorities and enforcement bodies, through schemes such as those operated by Regulatory Delivery, Health and Safety Executive, the Local Authority Unit and the Herts and Beds Environmental Health Officer’s Enforcement Liaison Group.

The Authority will ensure that enforcement decisions are always consistent, balanced, fair and relate to common standards that ensure that persons affected by work activities are adequately protected. Any enforcement decisions will be based upon criteria including seriousness of offence, the enterprise’s past history, confidence in management, the consequences of non-compliance and the likely effectiveness of the various enforcement options.

The choices for action are:

  • To take no action
  • To take informal action
  • To serve statutory notices
  • To use formal cautions
  • To prosecute
  • To use a combination of the above

Compliance is normally achieved through letters and advice, only in the more serious instances is formal action through the service of notices considered.

Prosecution is reserved for the most serious offences, e.g. where there is a death or severe injury as a result of a breach of the legislation, where there is a blatant disregard of the law, or where there appears to have been reckless disregard for the health and safety of people at work or others.

The decision to instigate a prosecution will be made in consultation with the Solicitor to the Council.

Competencies and authorisation

The Council will ensure that all Environmental Health Officers and Technical Officers appointed under S.19 Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 are authorised to initiate enforcement action, competent to do so, are suitably qualified, and have relevant and adequate experience in health and safety enforcement.