The employer who breaches any health and safety legislation commits a criminal offence. The enforcing authority may bring criminal charges against the employer to Court. The case may be decided at Magistrates Court or at Crown Court (or their equivalents in Scotland). The more serious cases are generally decided at Crown Court which has greater sentencing powers.
Where the employer has committed a criminal offence, the enforcing authority may find that it was committed due to the consent, connivance or neglect of one or more directors, top managers or other senior officers of the undertaking. In such cases the individual(s) can also be charged with the offence and brought to Court together with the employer.
Where the employer believes that the offence he has committed is due to the act or default of another firm (such as a supplier, contractor, landlord, etc) or of an individual (such as an employee, professional adviser, etc.) he may give notice to the enforcing authority. In such cases the person whose act or default led to the employer's offence may be charged and brought to Court together with or instead of the employer.