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Enforcement

Where the enforcing authority, such as the HSE or the local authority, identifies organisers or businesses which are not taking action to comply with the relevant public health legislation and guidance to control public health risks, they are empowered to take a range of actions to improve control of workplace risks.For example, this would cover employers not taking appropriate action to ensure social distancing was in place.

Failure to complete a risk assessment which takes account of COVID-19 or completing a risk assessment but failing to put in place sufficient measures to manage the risk of COVID-19, could constitute a breach of health and safety law.The actions the enforcing authority can take include providing advice to organisers/businesses to help them achieve the required standard, through to issuing enforcement notices to help secure improvements. 

Serious breaches and failure to comply with enforcement notices can constitute a criminal offence, with serious fines and even imprisonment for up to two years.There is also a wider system of enforcement, which includes specific obligations and conditions for licensed premises.

Employers are expected to respond to any advice or notices issued by enforcing authorities rapidly and are required to do so within any timescales imposed by the enforcing authorities.The vast majority of employers are responsible and will join with the UK's fight against COVID-19 by working with the Government and their sector bodies to protect their workers and the public.However, inspectors are carrying out compliance checks nationwide to ensure that employers are taking the necessary steps.

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