The HSE inspector is coming to investigate our compliance with the Working Time Regulations. What should I do if he or she calls me in?

You should co-operate with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) inspector.

The HSE has responsibility for enforcing the requirements on working 'limits' and associated matters in the Working Time Regulations 1998 (WTR).

The HSE says that most complaints about working time will be resolved without a visit. If an HSE inspector is visiting, this is likely to signify that the breach involves a significant health and safety risk to workers. It may also be a consequence of your employer's behaviour in response to the complaint – for example, reluctance to hand over records to the regulator. You can find information here explaining how the HSE approach working time complaints.

For 'entitlements' (e.g. annual leave, and rest breaks or rest periods), enforcement is carried out through employment tribunals.

The relevant matters for which HSE inspectors are responsible are:

  • weekly working hours;
  • the length of night work;
  • health assessments; and
  • record-keeping.

Failure to comply with the WTR in these matters renders the employer liable to prosecution by the HSE.

In some industries, the Regulations are enforced by other bodies:

  • Local authorities deal with shops, offices, hotels, catering, sports, leisure and customer services workplaces.
  • The Vehicle and Operator Services Agency deals with HGV and PSV drivers.
  • The Maritime and Coastguard Agency deals with seafarers and inland waterways workers.
  • The Office of the Rail Regulator deals with rail workers.
  • The Civil Aviation Authority deals with air cabin crew.
Note: This content is provided as general background information and should not be taken as legal advice or financial advice for your particular situation. Make sure to get individual advice on your case from your union, a source on our free help page or an independent financial advisor before taking any action.