Health and Safety Inspections

After the inspector has finished looking round your workplace, they might:

  • offer advice.
  • give you a notification of contravention – known as FFI*
  • give you an improvement notice – which is on public record and legally enforces the area of health and safety law that you are non-compliant under – this is used where the required standard is not met, and an improvement must be made.
  • give you a prohibition notice – this is also a matter of public record, but in this circumstance the officer feels that there is an imminent risk of harm, and the highlighted activity must be ceased, and action taken immediately.
  • prosecute you for breaching health and safety laws – this is where the officer feels that there is a significant breach of the law and that there is enough evidence to successfully take the company to court.

*HSE operates a Fee for Intervention (FFI) cost recovery scheme. If you are breaking health and safety laws, HSE may recover its costs from you by charging a fee for the time and effort it spends on helping you to put the matter right, such as investigating and taking enforcement action. They will need to find a ‘material breach’ and they have powers to charge you at £154 per hour for this process.

What is a material breach?

A material breach is something which an inspector considers serious enough that they need to formally write to the business requiring action to be taken to deal with the material breach. If the inspector gives you a notification of contravention (NoC) after their visit, you’ll have to pay a fee, under the FFI Scheme, they will outline -

  • the law that the inspector considers has been broken
  • the reason(s) for their opinion
  • notification that a fee is payable to HSE

So with this in mind, it may be better for one of our consultants to perform this process and conduct the GAP analysis and minimise the risk of an inspector finding a ‘material breach’.