5. Offences and penalties

It is an offence for a person to fail to comply with, or cause another person to fail to comply with, their duties under GB REACH.

Other offences include:

  • obstructing an inspector
  • providing a false statement
  • failing to comply with a notice served by an inspector

It is important to note that GB REACH applies in parallel with a number of other laws, including other general chemical law such as GB CLP and General Product Safety (GPS) Regulations, and more specific chemical law such as the GB Biocidal Products Regulation (GB BPR) and GB Plant Protection Products Regulation (GB PPPR) - this means that compliance with GB REACH does not excuse a failure to comply with another law, and vice versa.

Where HSE determines it is appropriate to prosecute a person for an offence, they may be tried:

  • summarily – for example, in the Magistrates' Courts in England and Wales or by summary complaint in the Sheriff Court in Scotland
  • on indictment – for example in the Crown Courts in England and Wales or by solemn proceedings in the Sheriff Court in Scotland

If a prosecution results in a conviction, then the Court will determine what penalty is appropriate in the circumstances. The maximum penalties available are set out in law and vary depending on whether:

  • the conviction was summary or on indictment
  • the offence was committed in England, Wales or Scotland

The Courts will usually fine an offender, although there is often no limit on the amount of fine that can be awarded, and in certain circumstances a Court may sentence an individual to up to 2 years in prison (as well as, or instead of, a fine).

Notices and prosecutions

Details of HSE's successful prosecutions and the notices we have issued are published on our website in the register of prosecutions and notices.

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Updated 2024-03-25