Section 21


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Administrative sanctions Health and safety Labour inspection

This section provides for the Health and Safety Executive or local authority to request remedial works to ensure compliance with the Act.


S. 21. Improvement notices.

If an inspector is of the opinion that a person—

(a) is contravening one or more of the relevant statutory provisions; or

(b) has contravened one or more of those provisions in circumstances that make it likely that the contravention will continue or be repeated, he may serve on him a notice (in this Part referred to as “an improvement notice”) stating that he is of that opinion, specifying the provision or provisions as to which he is of that opinion, giving particulars of the reasons why he is of that opinion, and requiring that person to remedy the contravention or, as the case may be, the matters occasioning it within such period (ending not earlier than the period within which an appeal against the notice can be brought under section 24) as may be specified in the notice.

Law / United Kingdom / Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974

The Act introduced measures to safeguard the health, safety and welfare of workers and also of third parties in connection with the activities of persons at work, including imposing liability on employers for failure to ensure adequately safe workplaces. The Act imposes general duties on a wide variety of people, including employers, employees, the self-employed, contractors, suppliers of goods and substances for use at work and persons who control, manage or maintain work premises.

The general principles set out in the Act have been extensively supplemented through the exercise of the Government’s discretion to make more detailed provision by way of Statutory Instruments (such as the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999), resulting in a broad regime covering health and safety at work which is supervised by the Health & Safety Executive and backed by criminal sanctions enshrined in the Act.

The Act applies in England and Wales, and in part in Scotland and Northern Ireland . Under the power designated to the Secretary of State under s. 84(3), the Act has been extended by Order in Council to certain engineering and drilling activities in UK territorial waters, such as offshore installations, wells, pipelines and mines extending into territorial waters.

However, the definition of employment in s. 52 is not all-encompassing, as the Act does not extend to employment on board ships in the command of a master, or to domestic workers (s. 51).

Liability explicitly extends to bodies corporate (s. 37) and provides for individual as well as collective liability for those in managerial positions.