So what happens if the HSE issues an Enforcement notice to your organisation and you choose to ignore it?
Ignoring Enforcement Notices – you don’t have to be a genius to determine what is likely to happen. There will be some form of follow-up (they know where you are) and then things will not proceed so well. There may well be a court case, and the lack of cooperation is unlikely to favour the defendant. Bad press will follow, remedial works will still be required, the workforce will be aware of the situation (this will not improve morale, safety culture, etc.), and the Enforcement Officers will “have you on their radar”.
A couple of recent cases can indicate what happens:
A coach company in Wrexham has been fined £250,000 after it repeatedly failed to comply with legal notices to get its lifting equipment examined.
Wrexham Magistrates’ Court heard that between 4 April 2014 and 28 August 2015, GHA Coaches Limited failed to have its lifting equipment thoroughly examined within the required timescales to ensure that health and safety conditions were maintained and that any deterioration could be detected and remedied promptly. In 2015, an inspection revealed overdue Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations (LOLER) examinations on at least 14 items. An improvement notice was served, and extended twice, and still resulted in a failure to comply.
The investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that a previous improvement notice was served in 2011. The Company, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 9(3)(a)(ii) of the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 (LOLER), and failing to comply with an Improvement Notice, and was fined a total of £250,000 and ordered to pay costs of £3,068.
Firm fined for safety failings at property development
A company based in Cardiff has been fined for safety failings during a property development. Pontypridd Magistrates’ Court heard Ziman Trading Limited, formerly Ziman Investments Limited (Ziman), was acting as the principal contractor at the property development of the former New York Hotel, York Street, Porth. An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the company failed to ensure that appropriate measures were in place to control risks on site, including falls from height, exposure to asbestos and the risk from fire.
The company failed to adequately plan and manage the work which put workers at risk. Ziman did not cooperate with the investigation and neglected to comply with enforcement action taken by the HSE. The Company pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 13(1) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 and Section 33(1)(G) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. The company was fined £50,000 and ordered to pay costs of £5,478
Ignoring Enforcement Notices is a bad idea. Avoiding getting them (because you work in compliance with the principles of good practice) is good business.