What rights do health and safety inspectors have to question me or my employer?

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has the day-to-day responsibility for the enforcement of health and safety law.

HSE inspectors have the power to:

  • enter premises;
  • inspect and investigate;
  • take measurements, samples and photographs;
  • require an area or machine to be left undisturbed;
  • seize, render harmless or destroy dangerous items; and
  • obtain information and take statements.

They also have the power to issue improvement and prohibition notices, and can bring prosecutions against any person contravening a relevant statutory provision.

Some health and safety enforcement is carried out by inspectors from the HSE and some by local authorities. You can find out which regulator enforces safety in your sector from the 'Enforcement' page of the HSE website.

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.

What is WorkSmart?

A career coach that works for everyone.


Enjoy bite-sized activities delivered to you every week.

Lightbulb brain

Equip yourself with essential skills to be the best you yet.


Get the guidance you need to stay focused and reach your goals.

Worksmart circle