Guide

What to expect from a health and safety visit

Health and safety improvement notices

An inspector may issue an improvement notice if they believe you're breaking health and safety law. This will usually be where the law is being broken in a relatively serious way, or in a way that poses a risk to people.

What is an improvement notice?

Health and safety inspectors issue improvement notices are issued to help businesses rectify illegal health and safety failings. An improvement notice gives you the chance to correct what you're doing wrong and will:

  • specify what you're doing that breaks the law
  • say what you need to do to correct the issue and why
  • give you a period of time - at least 21 days - in which to comply

The inspector will discuss the improvement notice with you before serving it, and try to resolve any disagreements you have.

You will have at least 21 days to take any remedial action.

Businesses must always comply with an improvement notice. Failure to do so can result in prosecution. If inspectors find you, the duty holder - eg a director or manager - to be in breach of health and safety requirements, you may be held to account in a court of law.

If you don't understand what the notice is asking you to do, or you think you need more time to comply, you should get back in touch with the inspector who issued it for further advice. You should also discuss the notice with the person responsible for health and safety in your workplace.

Appealing against an improvement notice

If you think the notice is unfair, you have the right to appeal against it to an industrial tribunal. The inspectors will provide information on how to bring an appeal along with the notice.

Notices are not published until nine weeks after their date of issue to allow you the chance to appeal. When you have complied with a notice the inspector will mark this on the register.