Enforcement of Law & Legislation

Powers of HSA Inspectors

  • The right of entry into any place where the Inspector believes the place is being used as a place of work or used for the keeping of articles or substances. However an inspector cannot enter a dwelling place without the consent of the owner or under the terms of a warrant issued by a District Court. The inspector also needs to be accompanied by a member of the Gardaí in order to stop a vehicle on the road for inspections e.g. for ADR Road Transport Inspections.
  • In relation to any inspection an inspector may search and examine that place of work or any process or procedure carried out there and examine any records, articles or substances that are kept there and can require that the place or part of the place or anything in that place is left undisturbed until any examination, search and investigation is concluded.
  • An Inspector can also require persons at that place of work to produce any records the inspector may require and also provide information to the inspector relating to any entries made in those records. An inspector can also take copies of any records in paper or electronic format and require reasonable assistance to access any records held on a computer system or can take the original records for further examination, investigation, inspection or an inquiry for as long as is reasonably necessary.
  • The inspector can also require persons at that place of work to provide information required relating to an inspection, investigation, inquiry or examination and can also require that assistance and facilities to enable the inspector to exercise his/her powers are provided. The information that may be required extends to any article, substance, work activity, installation or procedure and a person can be summoned by written notice at a specified time and place to give such information or produce records required by the Inspector.
  • An inspector can also require that any article is operated or set in motion or any procedure is carried out in their presence
  • An Inspector may question any person that they consider may be able to provide information relating to any search, inspection, investigation, examination, or inquiry and require that person to answer the questions and sign a declaration of the truth of the answers.
  • Inspectors can take measurements, photographs, video recordings or any other recordings they consider necessary including the use of monitoring equipment and atmospheric sampling. They can also arrange for any testing, examination or analysis to be carried out at that place of work, or any other place they specify, of any substance or article at the place of work and they can also require that any articles or substances or samples of them are supplied without charge.
  • Inspectors can require any article or substance at the place of work that they consider to be or have been a risk to safety or health to be dismantled or subjected to any process or test. They can also remove and retain any article or substance required for examination, or to ensure it is not tampered with or to ensure it is available for use as evidence in any proceedings.
  • An inspector can require a person they consider may have committed an offence to provide their name and address to him/her.




  • Advise/Investigate
  • Warn
  • Improvement Direction
  • Improvement Notice
  • Prohibition Notice
  • Court Order
  • Prosecution

A HSA Inspector has the power to:

  • Enter any workplace
  • Examine premises, plant, equipment etc.
  • Take any measurements, photographs etc.
  • Carry out testing, monitoring, sampling etc.
  • Enlist help or assistance
  • Decide that the place is not to be disturbed
  • Seize or render harmless any article or substance
  • Prohibit or stop work
  • Exercise such powers as may be necessary for carrying out his or her functions


Improvement Direction

Where actions are likely to involve a risk (Minor) to Safety, Health or Welfare.

  • Served on person in control
  • Requires production of corrective Plan
  • Remedial action specified
  • Time scale
  • Must comply
  • Will be back


Improvement Notice

Where Health and Safety Law is broken

  • Improvement Notice is served
  • Specifies where breach occurs
  • Issues reasons
  • Directs
  • 14 Days to Appeal
  • Copy of Notice to Safety Representative


Prohibition Notice

Where there is risk of serious injury or death

  • Specifies Risks
  • Specifies Contravention
  • Prohibits Activities
  • 7 Days to Appeal


Court Order

  • Where immediate prohibition is required
  • Where Prohibition Notice ignored
  • Can only be lifted by Court (this could take up to 6-7 months)



  • Serious or repeated disregard for Safety and Health
  • Failure to comply with Direction or Notice
  • Death or serious injury resulting from breaches of legislation



  • €5,000 + 12 months
  • €3,000,000 + 2 years
  • Guilty until proven innocent
  • Named & Shamed
  • Fixed Charge Penalties
  • Consider also that the convicted person may also be liable for costs