Health and safety enforcement

The enforcement of health and safety law is split between the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and our Environmental Health team.

This is dependant upon the type of work activity involved, but in general the Council is responsible for:

  • offices, shops, wholesale and retail warehouses, holiday and catering establishments (including hotels, pubs, cafes, wine bars, restaurants, take-away food shops, mobile snack-bars, guest houses, hostels, holiday homes, caravan and camping sites)
  • leisure and entertainment facilities (including night-clubs, discos, bingo halls, amusement arcades, circuses, social clubs, sports facilities, health clubs, gyms, swimming pools, riding schools, pleasure-boat hire, golf clubs, motor racing circuits, race-courses, theatres and art galleries),
  • residential care homes
  • churches and other consumer services (including tyre and exhaust centres, therapeutic and beauty services, hairdressers, undertakers and animal care establishments)

 The Health and Safety Executive is responsible for:

  • factories
  • building sites,
  • mines and quarries
  • farms
  • fairgrounds
  • railways
  • public sector organisations
  • chemical plants
  • offshore and nuclear installations

For comprehensive details on who’s responsible for health and safety enforcement in different sectors and situations, have a look at the HSE A-Z guide to allocation on their website.


On completion of any inspection or investigation work, if we identify contraventions of health and safety law requiring a remedy, there are a range of enforcement options available to us, as outlined below. 

Although we are responsible for ensuring that businesses meet the minimum legal safety standards, the formal approaches described here will only be considered in exceptional circumstances. It is more usual for our inspectors to provide advice to business on identifying and managing health and safety issues.


We can provide verbal or written advice on the measures required to remedy any minor contraventions found.

Improvement notice

This may be served for a specific legal contravention where non-urgent action is required within a specific timeframe. The notice will detail the contravention, the works necessary to remedy this and the date by which these works should be completed.

Prohibition notice

This is served where we consider there to be an imminent risk of serious injury and where urgent action is required. The notice will detail what activity or equipment is to be prohibited and will come into effect immediately.


We will prosecute when a contravention is particularly serious, if there are serious failings by management, or when all other approaches have proved unsuccessful.

Formal caution

This may be offered where there are reasons why a prosecution is inappropriate e.g. lack of public interest.

Read our corporate enforcement policy (PDF File, 334kb) for further information on our enforcement duties including use of legal notices and prosecutions.

Health and safety - workplace inspections

We make visits to businesses throughout Newark and Sherwood to help prevent accidents and ill-health in the workplace. We inspect premises where we’re responsible for enforcement to ensure that risks from work are being properly managed.

A visit may be part of a routine programme or due to a current health and safety priority. We may also visit to investigate a recent accident, or in response to a complaint of poor working conditions.

Visits are usually unannounced and may involve discussions with the business owner, manager responsible for the premise, health and safety representatives and other employees.

Initially we may ask to check for health and safety related documents available on the premises such as health and safety policy or statement, risk assessments for the work activities, training records, maintenance records or schedules and the accident records. A physical inspection of the premises or the specific area or activity of concern usually follows.

Following a visit

We will inform the business of any health and safety contraventions, providing verbal or written advice on any actions required. We may also recommend additional measures to further improve the safety standards in relation to the premises or activity.

If any contraventions are especially serious, we may consider taking enforcement action.

Our health and safety priorities

During our inspections, we’ll concentrate on a number of priority topics and what you are doing to identify, minimise and control the risks created by your work activities.

There are a number of current priority topics. These have been identified nationally as those causing the most work days lost due to work-related accidents and ill-health.

  • slips, trips and falls
  • noise in the music entertainment industry
  • asbestos
  • asthma in small bakeries and catering businesses
  • violence at work
  • loading and unloading
  • construction
  • vulnerable workers
  • musculoskeletal disorders
  • stress at work
  • skin diseases

Further information on different health and safety topics is available from the HSE website.