Health and Safety Executive prosecutions policy
Health and Safety Executive prosecutions policy

The following Corporate Crime guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Health and Safety Executive prosecutions policy
  • Work related death
  • Health and safety offences
  • Enforcement
  • Fees for intervention

This Practice Note explains the approach taken by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) to the enforcement of health and safety law in England and Wales.

The HSE has a fundamental policy that, following investigation, if the enforcing authority has collected sufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of conviction and has decided, in accordance with this policy and taking account of the Code for Crown Prosecutors, that it is in the public interest to prosecute, then a prosecution should follow.

The HSE has published its enforcement policy statement which outlines the general principles and approach which the health and safety enforcing authorities (mainly HSE and local authorities) are expected to follow when investigating and enforcing health and safety legislation. This enforcement policy statement has been set in accordance with the Regulator's Compliance Code which applies to all governmental regulators. For more information on the Regulators' Compliance Code, see Practice Note: The Regulators' Code.

In the enforcement policy statement, the HSE states that the purpose of enforcement is:

  1. to ensure that dutyholders take action to deal immediately with serious risks

  2. to promote and achieve sustained compliance with the law

  3. ensure that dutyholders who breach health and safety requirements, and directors or managers who fail in their responsibilities, may be held to account, which may include bringing alleged offenders before the courts in England