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Examples of enforcement - Prosecutions

Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS) prosecution at a motor company

An employee of a motor company suffered a Hand Arm Vibration injury (HAVS) having used a range of vibrating tools over a 17 year period. The individual was diagnosed with early stage vibration white finger (VWF) approximately 4 years earlier and despite medical warnings his bodyshop workload increased along with his usage of vibrating machines and as a consequence his condition deteriorated. Within two years he was diagnosed as having HAVS Stage 3 in both hands and Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) in both wrists.

Two Improvement Notices had been issued to the company in 2004, neither of which had been contested. A short while before the investigation process commenced the body shop closed. Subsequent tests from the tools used by the employee revealed that the employee’s daily usage had been around double (and often higher) the recommended exposure level set by the HSE.


The investigation led to a successful HSE prosecution. The company was fined £10,000 with costs of £ 28,000. The employee was awarded a large 5 figure settlement at an earlier civil hearing. The case was given significant media coverage.

Proactive non injury prosecution of a poultry processing company

Following a routine visit to a poultry processing plant 7 enforcement Notices were issued covering a range of topics including workplace transport, slips and trips, noise and machinery guarding. At the follow up visit, it was apparent that the company had failed to improve its arrangements for managing health and safety as further evidence of non-compliance was identified. The Managing Director was advised that a follow up visit would take place in 4 weeks and that if significant improvements were not made then further enforcement action would be considered. At the subsequent visit the situation had not improved and a further 4 Notices were served due to poorly maintained machinery and electrical safety issues. 


This evidence of systematic non-compliance was used to successfully prosecute the company for failing to manage health and safety.  The company was fined £15,000 with costs of £3,992 awarded and has since appointed a full time health and safety professional to assist with compliance.

Prosecution of a gas installer

A gas installer and his company was served with a Prohibition Notice, prohibiting him from installing gas appliances until they were approved by a recognised body i.e. CORGI, after it was discovered he and his company had carried out gas work whilst not being CORGI registered. Sometime after the Prohibition Notice HSE received two more complaints concerning the installer’s activities. The complaints concerned - the installer issuing “Landlord Gas Safety Record” certificates, with CORGI registration numbers under his name, whilst still not approved and the other identifying defects in a gas central heating boiler installation which were classed as “at risk” to safety.


The installer was successfully prosecuted for - not complying with the requirements of a Prohibition Notice; intentionally making false entries on “Landlord’s Gas safety Records”; that as a self-employed person carried out work on a gas fitting and service pipework whilst not being a member of a class of persons approved for the time being by the Health and Safety Executive i.e. Council for Registered Gas Installers (CORGI) as well as 12 other offences relating to the charges.

The installer was sentenced to four months imprisonment for not complying with the Prohibition Notice. The case involved local TV coverage.
Updated 2009-02-06