Section 22


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Administrative sanctions Economic sanctions Health and safety Labour inspection

This section adds to an inspector’s power under s. 21 by allowing labour inspectors to issue a prohibition notice to stop an activity where the inspector believes there is a risk of serious personal injury. This adds an additional level of protection for workers.

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S.22. Prohibition notices.

(1) This section applies to any activities which are being or are [likely] 1 to be carried on by or under the control of any person, being activities to or in relation to which any of the relevant statutory provisions apply or will, if the activities are so carried on, apply.

(2) If as regards any activities to which this section applies an inspector is of the opinion that, as carried on or [likely] 1 to be carried on by or under the control of the person in question, the activities involve or, as the case may be, will involve a risk of serious personal injury, the inspector may serve on that person a notice (in this Part referred to as “a prohibition notice”).

(3) A prohibition notice shall—

(a) state that the inspector is of the said opinion;

(b) specify the matters which in his opinion give or, as the case may be, will give rise to the said risk;

(c) where in his opinion any of those matters involves or, as the case may be, will involve a contravention of any of the relevant statutory provisions, state that he is of that opinion, specify the provision or provisions as to which he is of that opinion, and give particulars of the reasons why he is of that opinion; and

(d) direct that the activities to which the notice relates shall not be carried on by or under the control of the person on whom the notice is served unless the matters specified in the notice in pursuance of paragraph (b) above and any associated contraventions of provisions so specified in pursuance of paragraph (c) above have been remedied.

[(4) A direction contained in a prohibition notice in pursuance of subsection (3)(d) above shall take effect—

(a) at the end of the period specified in the notice; or

(b) if the notice so declares, immediately.

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.