Local authority enforcement

Health and safety legislation in Great Britain is enforced by HSE or one of the over 380 local authorities depending on the main activity carried out at any particular premises.  In general LAs are the main enforcing authority for retail, wholesale distribution and warehousing, hotel and catering premises, offices, and the consumer/leisure industries.

More on the enforcement allocation.

Each LA is an enforcing authority in its own right and must make adequate provision for enforcement.  The LA National Enforcement Code introduced in May 2013 sets out the principles that each LA should follow to ensure a consistent, proportionate and targeted approach to regulation based on risk.

LAs use a number of intervention approaches to regulate and influence businesses in the management of health and safety risks including:

  • provision of advice and guidance to individual businesses or groups
  • proactive interventions including inspection
  • reactive interventions eg to investigate an accident or complaint.

LA inspectors may use enforcement powers, including formal enforcement notices, to address occupational health and safety risks and secure compliance with the law. Prosecution action may be appropriate to hold duty holders to account for failures to safeguard health and safety.

Further information on enforcement, including HSE's Enforcement Policy Statement (EPS) which sets out principles both LAs and HSE are expected to follow when taking enforcement decisions, is available on the HSE Website.

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Updated 2022-11-09