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Consequences of a Health and Safety breach

Any breach of health and safety regulations is as a criminal offence and as such, any company or individual manager found to be in breach of these health and safety regulations could face prosecution by the HSE.  If found guilty, the company or person responsible could face a hefty fine or even imprisonment.

A breach could result in a fine of anywhere up to or around £20,000, but if the company or individual manager is found to be deliberately breaking the law or being seriously negligent in carrying out the appropriate procedures that reduce the risk of injury, this can lead to unlimited fines and/or imprisonment.

The enforcing parties who will deal with any breach are Health and Safety Executive (HSE) Health and Safety Inspectors or local authority Environmental Health Officers.

If any of these authorities find that the company or the individual is in breach of any health and safety regulations, they may issue the person responsible with an improvement or prohibition notice as an alternative to prosecution. This improvement notice states that the party responsible is required to improve the breach within 21 days, but this period may be extended in certain circumstances.

In addition the party responsible may be handed with a prohibition notice which will require any associated activity to cease within a certain time limit. If there has been an emergency this activity may be ordered to cease immediately. Failure to comply with these notices can lead to fines and prosecution in the magistrate’s court. An employer can appeal either of these notices through a tribunal. 

If an employee is injured whilst at work, they can make a claim against their employer if their employer has failed to provide them in any way, a safe and healthy working environment. Negligence may be found if their employer has not supplied the employee with the appropriate safety gear or training. This is an obligation to the employer, both as a common law duty and as a statutory law duty.

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