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Role of HSE explained


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18 January 2011

Health and Safety Executive

The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 led to creation of two governing authorities:

The Health and Safety Commission and The Health and Safety Executive.

On April 1st 2008, both authorities were merged to establish one governing authority, namely the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

Role of HSE

It is the duty and responsibility of the HSE to make adequate arrangements for the enforcement of Health and Safety legislation. The Secretary of State has the power to establish provisions that allow other authorities or bodies to take responsibility for their own enforcement. Such an authority would include the 'Local Authority'. There is a duty on both the HSE and the Local Authority to ensure that:

They work together to establish the best practice and consistency in the enforcement of legislation.

They enter into arrangements with each other for securing cooperation and the exchange of information.

They from time to time review those arrangements and revise them when they consider it appropriate to do so.

Powers of Inspectors

Section 20 of the HSWA 1974 provides inspectors with a wide range of powers to ensure that the provisions of the HSWA 1974 are complied with. Inspectors have the power to:

Enter premises which they have reason to believe it is necessary for them to enter for the purpose of enforcing any statutory provision contained within HSWA.

Take with them a constable if they have reasonable cause to apprehend any serious obstruction in the execution of their duty.

Undertake such examination and investigation as is necessary for the purpose of enforcing any statutory provision contained within the HSWA.

Direct that premises or any part of them, or anything therein, shall be left undisturbed for so long as is reasonably necessary.

Take such measurements and photographs and make such recordings as they consider necessary for the purpose of any examination or investigation

Take samples of any articles or substances found in any premises and of the atmosphere in or in the vicinity of any premises

Dismantle, test, take possession and detain any article or substance likely to cause danger to health or safety.

Require any person whom they have reasonable cause to believe they are able to give any information relevant to any examination or investigation

Require the production of, inspect, and take copies of any entry in any books or documents which are required to be kept.

Syed Rashidul Islam is a Trainee Solicitor with Lawdit Solicitors and can be contacted by email

About the Author

Lawdit Solicitors offer services and advice for litigation, commercial contracts, Intellectual Property and IT legal agreements. We are experts in commercial law with a heavy emphasis on Intellectual Property, Internet and e-commerce law. Lawdit is a member of the International Trademark Association, the Solicitors' Association of Higher Court Advocates and we are the appointed Solicitors to the largest webdesign association in the world, the United Kingdom Website Designers Association.

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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2011-03-16 13:21:02 in Legal Articles

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