To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what powers the Health and Safety Executive has to investigate factories in Leicester where the failure to implement covid-19 safety measures is a serious risk to public health.
1 March 2021
Under Section 20 of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, HSE Inspectors have a range of powers that they can use to investigate reported incidents and concerns, including those relating to implementation of Covid 19 safety measures in factories in Leicester.
Inspectors have the right to enter premises to carry out their functions at any reasonable time. They have the right to ask questions, to examine documents and to take copies. They also have the right to talk to employees and safety representatives, as required.
Inspectors have the power to issue Improvement Notices where they identify a breach of health and safety legislation or to issue Prohibition Notices where they identify a risk of serious personal injury. They also have powers to institute proceedings in Court where there has been a serious breach of health and safety legislation.
Throughout the pandemic, HSE has actively engaged with businesses, through site visits and phone calls, investigating reports from those raising concerns, assessing compliance with health and safety law, and using guidance such as that published about social distancing from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19) to ensure businesses are adhering to requirements. HSE has also provided support to local public health bodies who lead on dealing with outbreaks.
HSE continues to regulate in areas of highest risk and industries where concerns of Covid-19 transmission are greatest.