Health & Safety
The specialist regulatory lawyers at Qamar Solicitors are highly experienced in representing clients under investigation for, or being prosecuted by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) for health and safety breaches.
Whether the investigation follows an accident in the workplace, or a hazard has been reported by a whistleblower, we have extensive, specialist knowledge of health and safety legislation to robustly advise and represent you and your company.
Business organisations bear an increasingly heavy regulatory burden, having to comply with numerous rules and regulations ranging from the health and safety, the Environment Agency, and HMRC, to trading standards. We have the expertise to help you and your company.
Whether you a sole trader or a very large company, health and safety law impacts directly on all businesses. They have important duties to comply with to ensure the health and well-being of employees and others individuals including:
The general requirements, for instance, to ensure so far as is reasonably practicable the health and safety of employees
Specific requirements including regulations concerning the safety of people working in confined spaces
We are able to advise and assist you early in an investigation. Health & Safety investigating officers have specific powers extending to powers to arrest and detain in custody a person suspected of an offence. Their powers also include:
Requiring people to answer questions. It is important to note that someone can usually decline to answer a police officer's questions - but failure to cooperate with a Health & Safety Inspector can be an offence in and of itself
Power to enter premises and to require premises or items inside them to remain undisturbed
Power to take possession of potential evidence and to require production of books or documents
The power to take measurements, samples, photographs and so on
The power to conduct recorded interviews under caution. We are available to represent you at any interview with investigating officers – particularly interviews under caution.
It is important to understand that breaches of health and safety laws can attract very high fines (sometimes limitless) – even where you think the offence itself is minor. Where individual directors or managers are convicted of the most serious offences (for instance, where someone has died), a prison sentence may be imposed. An individual may be personally charged with an offence if it is alleged that an offence "has been committed with the consent or connivance of, or to have been attributable to any neglect on the part of, the person concerned”.
Prosecution and sentencing
Most environmental offences are tried by magistrates in the Magistrates’ Court. Environmental offences can attract serious sanctions and the implications for individuals and businesses are potentially serious. In 2014, the Government increased the penalties that may be imposed on serious waste disposal offenders and magistrates can now impose higher penalties for serious offenders. Fly tipping, for instance, is an increasing problem and individuals or businesses could be sentenced severely if convicted.
How can we help?
If you are being investigated or prosecuted by the HSE for health and safety breaches, contact the regulatory and criminal defence lawyers at Qamar Solicitors immediately for urgent specialist legal advice. We can assist you early in the investigation and it is imperative you contact us as soon as possible.