Enforcement decision


This procedure describes how HSE ensures all enforcement decisions arising from inspections & investigations are taken in accordance with HSC's Enforcement Policy Statement.


The purpose of this procedure is to specify the role of HSE's Enforcement Policy Statement (EPS) [PDF 89KB] in the making of enforcement decisions by HSE arising, in particular, from inspection & incident or complaint investigation.

The EPS sets out the principles to be applied when determining what enforcement action to take in response to breaches of health & safety legislation. Fundamental is the principle that enforcement should be proportional to health & safety risk and the seriousness of the breach. For further internal guidance on the EPS, please see:


The procedure applies to FOD, HID and ND


HSE will always apply the principles of the Enforcement Policy Statement when considering taking enforcement action and will do so through the appropriate application of HSE's Enforcement Management Model (EMM).

HSE will apply the principles of the EMM to all relevant enforcement decision-making & will always apply the EMM formally in certain specified circumstances.

Formal application of the EMM means that a record is kept of the step-by-step process of applying the model.


In this procedure, enforcement means all dealings with dutyholders that result in the serving of notices; the withdrawing of approvals; the varying of licences, conditions or exemptions; the issuing of formal cautions; or prosecution; and the providing of information or advice, face to face or in writing.

Roles & responsibilities

Staff making enforcement decisions:

must be familiar with the Enforcement Policy Statement & the detailed application of the EMM within the context of all relevant supporting documents;

must apply the principles of the EMM whenever they make an enforcement decision for which they have the authority & formally record the outcome when required.

Line managers:

  • ensure staff are competent to make enforcement decisions within the limits of their authority, in accordance with the EPS, through the appropriate application of the EMM;
  • ensure the EMM is applied formally when required;
  • decide when the EMM is to be applied formally when this is not mandatory;
  • assess the outcome of all formal applications by their staff, discuss any disagreements & decide on the enforcement action to be taken;
  • assess informal applications with an outcome which fails to address at least one strategic factor and decide on the action to be taken,

Procedure overview

An overview of the procedure is provided in the attached flowchart [26kb]


Line managers should ensure compliance with this procedure when reviewing the progress of investigations, prior to the approval of all prosecutions and, where appropriate, any other enforcement decisions within the scope of this procedure.

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Updated 2021-12-14