The Enforcing Authority

The Health and Safety (Enforcing Authority) Regulations allocate premises for enforcement by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) or Local Authorities (LAs) according to the principle of main activity.

Health and Safety Executive Enforcement

The Health and Safety Executive is the enforcing authority for:

  • Premises occupied by, or under the control of, a local authority or the Crown, for example, colleges of further education
  • Construction work
  • Installation, maintenance or repair of gas, water or electricity systems
  • Premises controlled or occupied by a railway undertaking
  • Agricultural activities
  • Sale or storage of water and sewage or gas
  • Wholesale distribution of flammable, toxic or certain other dangerous substances
  • The maintenance or repair of motor vehicles
  • Premises occupied or under the control of a fire authority, police authority or the UK Atomic Energy Authority

Local Authority Enforcement

The LA is the enforcing authority in the following situations where the main activity is:

  • Sale or storage of goods for retail or wholesale distribution
  • Office activities
  • Catering services
  • Provision of residential accommodation
  • Shop premises providing consumer services

Thus Local Authorities have enforcement powers in, for example:

  • offices
  • shops
  • public houses
  • restaurants
  • hotels


  1. The Health and Safety (Enforcing Authority) Regulations 1998 (LEGUK)
  2. HSC 14: What to expect when a health and safety inspector calls (HSC)
  3. HSC 15: Enforcement policy statement (HSE)