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Health and safety improvement notices

An inspector may issue an improvement notice if they believe you're . This will usually be where the law is being broken in a relatively serious way, or in a way that poses a risk to people.

The improvement notice will:

  • specify the breach of law
  • say what needs to be done and why
  • give you a period of time in which to comply

The inspector will discuss the improvement notice with you before serving it, and try to resolve any disagreements you have.

The minimum time period for you to take any remedial action is 21 days.

If you think the notice is unfair, you have the right to appeal against it to an employment tribunal, or an industrial tribunal in Northern Ireland. Information on how to bring an appeal will be provided along with the notice.

If you do not understand what the notice is asking you to do, or you think you need more time to comply, it is a good idea to get back in touch with the inspector who issued it for further advice. You should also discuss the notice with the person responsible for health and safety in your workplace. Businesses must always comply with an improvement notice as failure to do so can result in prosecution.

All enforcement notices (improvement and prohibition) as well as prosecutions are published by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) on their online public register of enforcement notices, where it will appear for a period of five years. Notices are not published until nine weeks after their date of issue to allow you to appeal if you wish to. When you have complied with a notice and the inspector is satisfied, then the notice is marked as complied with on the register.

In addition, if inspectors find you, the duty holder - eg a director or manager - to be in breach of health and safety requirements, you may be held to account in a court of law.

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