Actions Which can be Taken by Inspectors
The Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005 (the 2005 Act) and the Chemicals Act 2008 and the ADR Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road Regulations allow the Authority inspectors take actions where statutory contraventions are observed e.g. where there is a risk of serious personal injury or poor management of dangerous chemicals, or poor management of the transport of dangerous goods. The inspector may take any of the following actions:
- Give a Report of Inspection Letter to the duty-holder or person in charge during the inspection which sets out minor breaches of the relevant laws and setting out areas where improvements can be made. The person in charge must counter sign this letter, so as to accept the items on the letter will be remedied.
- Under Section 65 of the 2005 Act issue an Improvement Direction in relation to activities to which the inspector considers may involve risk to safety or health of persons. An employer is required to respond with an Improvement Plan which the Inspector can approve or require it to be amended. A similar provision exists in Section 14 of the Chemicals Act 2008. Once approved, this plan must be implemented, as required by Section 12 of the Chemicals Act 2010 (which amended Section 65 of the 2005 Act). A similar provision exists under the ADR Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road Regulations.
- Under Section 66 of the 2005 Act serve an Improvement Notice on a duty-holder stating the inspector’s opinion that the duty holder has contravened a provision of an Act or Regulation, and requiring that the contravention be addressed within a certain time period of not less than 14 days. A similar provision exists under Section15 of the Chemicals Act 2008 where a Contravention Notice can be served for a contravention of any of the relevant chemicals statutory provisions. A similar provision exists under the ADR Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road Regulations.
- Under Section 67 of the 2005 Act serve a Prohibition Notice where an inspector is of the opinion that an activity is likely to involve a risk of serious personal injury to any person. This notice takes effect immediately from when the person, on whom the notice is served, receives the notice. A similar provision exists under Section 16 of the Chemicals Act 2008 where there is occurring any activity relating to a chemical that involves or likely to involve a serious risk to health or the environment. A similar provision exists under the ADR Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road Regulations.
- Under Section 72 of the 2005 Act Issue an Information Notice requiring a person to present to the Authority any information specified by the notice. A similar provision exists under Section 27 of the Chemicals Act 2008. A similar provision exists under the ADR Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road Regulations.
- For those inspections covered by the ADR Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road Regulations serve a Fixed Penalty Notice for certain breaches of the Regulations which carry a fine between €100 - €500 for each breach. The non-payment of the fine can result in the duty-holder being prosecuted in the District Court.
- Take summary proceedings in the District Court in relation to an offence under any of the relevant statutory provisions or under the relevant chemical statutory provisions.
- Gather evidence and prepare a report on an investigation so that the Director of Public Prosecutions can initiate proceedings on indictment for hearing in the Circuit Court in relation to an offence of the relevant statutory provisions or under the relevant chemical statutory provisions.
- Apply ‘ex-parte’ to the High Court to seek an interlocutory Order under Section 71 of the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005 to restrict or prohibit work activities at part or all of a workplace. Section 19 of the Chemicals Act 2008 has a similar provision with regard to protection of health and the environment from the adverse effects of chemicals.
- Prohibit the movement or restrict the movement of chemicals under the Chemicals Act 2008 and any of its relevant chemicals statutory provisions (see Section 20 of the Chemicals Act 2008).
- If a person is aggrieved by an Improvement Notice, Contravention Notice, Prohibition Notice, or Information Notice then they have a right to appeal and information on the appeal process is detailed on this site. Any enforcement actions required to be taken under the Dangerous Substances Act 1972, the Offshore Installations Act 1987 or the ADR Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road Regulations or their subsidiary Regulations are normally taken under the above powers under the 2005 Act.
It should be noted that the information above is for general guidance only and should not be seen as a legal interpretation of the 2005 Act, the Chemicals Act 2008 or any other statutory provisions being enforced by the Authority.