Health and safety—summary only offences

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

  • Health and safety—summary only offences
  • Summary only health and safety offences
  • Time for bringing proceedings for health and safety at work offences
  • Commencing a prosecution for a health and safety at work offence
  • Venue for a health and safety prosecution
  • The obstruction offence under HSWA 1974, s 33(1)(d)
  • The obstruction offence under section 33(1)(h)
  • Health and safety offences by corporate bodies
  • Penalties for health and safety at work offences

Health and safety—summary only offences

Under the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 (HSWA 1974), a number of general duties are imposed to ensure the health and safety of employees and non-employees while at work. It is an offence to failure to comply with these duties and those offences are triable in either the magistrates’ court or the Crown Court. For information on the duties imposed by HSWA 1974, ss 2–7, see Practice Notes:

  1. Failure to carry out health and safety duties under HSWA 1974—offences

  2. Safety and the risk to safety under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974

  3. Duty to take reasonable care and interfering with safety

  4. Directors’ duties for health and safety

  5. Health and safety law and the self-employed

This Practice Note focuses on those offences under HSWA 1974 which can only be tried in the magistrates’ courts.

Summary only health and safety offences

The health and safety offences which can only be tried in the magistrates’ court are:

  1. contravention of provisions relating to the Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE’s) power to direct investigations and inquiries

  2. intentionally obstructing an inspector in the exercise or performance of his powers or duties, or obstructing a customs officer in the exercise of his powers under the HSWA 1974, s 25A

  3. falsely pretending to be an inspector

Time for bringing proceedings for health and safety at work offences

Ordinarily,

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