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?
Improvement notices are issued by health and safety inspectors 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 needs to be done 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 be given 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. Information on how to bring an appeal will be provided 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 and the inspector is satisfied, then the notice is marked as complied with on the register.