A company was recently fined, £14,000 after they failed to comply with an improvement noticed served by the HSE. The company were asked to put a guard in place for a bridge saw machine as there was a risk of amputation. During a follow up visit the HSE inspector noticed that the temporary fencing around the saw had been removed entirely and so there was no protection at all for employees who used the machined.

What is an improvement notice?

An improvement notice is a notice issued by either a Local Authority or HSE inspector, when they believe that an individual or a business is in breach of their health and safety duties or they have breached their duties and it is likely that the breach will continue or will be repeated.  The notice is issued under s21 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

The notice will usually give you a deadline to carry out the necessary improvements. If you feel that you are unable to meet the deadline or if you have any difficulties in complying with the notice then you should get in contact with the inspector as soon as possible, to see what can be done. When you receive an improvement notice, you must comply with it. Failing to comply is a criminal offence and is punishable by either a fine or imprisonment.

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