Health and Safety Executive (HSE)
What does HSE stand for?
The Health and Safety Executive, often referred to as the HSE, is an independent regulator that aims to prevent work-related death, injury and ill-health.
When was HSE formed?
The foundations of the organisation can be dated back to the 1800’s when the HM Factory Inspectorate, Mines Inspectorate and Quarry Inspectorates were formed.
But it was on 1 January 1975 that the Health and Safety Executive was officially established, led by its first Director General, John Lock.
The organisation came into being the year after the publication of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. (In Northern Ireland, these duties lie with the Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland (HSENI).)
What does HSE do?
The organisation acts in the public interest to reduce work-related death and serious injury across Great Britain’s workplaces. It is not the sole regulator, as in many cases local authorities are responsible for breaches of the Health and Safety at Work Act etc 1974.
Since 2014 when the Care Act came into force, the Care Quality Commission has been responsible for undertaking some of the investigatory/regulatory work currently been undertaken by the HSE or the local authorities, when an incident causing harm, injury or death occurs to a person who is receiving care and support.
Commentary from HSE officials is often featured in SHP from its in-court stories, where the regulator is responsible for bringing prosecutions against individuals and companies.
For the latest HSE news stories, including prosecutions, follow SHP’s In Court page here and see a summary of the most recent news stories below.
HSE facts and figures
The HSE produces a number of regular reports and surveys, which contain important statistics and information for the health and safety professional.
According to the HSE’s Annual Report 2017/2018, there were 137 fatal injuries to workers in 2016/17, as well as 1.3 million work-related ill health cases.
It also recorded that there were 0.6 million non-fatal injuries to workers in 2016/17 and 31.2 million working days lost to work-related ill health and non-fatal injuries in the same time period.
HSE regulatory functions versus local authorities
As a regulator, the HSE’s aim is to prevent workplace death, injury or ill health, through using a variety of methods to influence change and help people manage risks at work. These include:
They claim to work collaboratively with other regulators, agencies and government departments to ensure the most appropriate organisation intervenes. They do this by setting arrangements, where laws overlap, to:
- Promote cooperation;
- Minimise duplication;
- Coordinate on joint regulatory activities;
- Share information and intelligence.
They will not intervene if another regulator has specific responsibility for that area.
Local authorities are responsible for regulating health and safety in lower-risk workplaces, such as offices, shops and warehouses.
For more information, visit the HSE’s guide on who is the correct enforcing authority.
Under the Control of Major Hazards Regulations 2015 (COMAH), it also regulates major hazards by working jointly, as a competent authority, with:
- Environment Agency.
- Scottish Environment Protection Agency.
- National Resources Wales.
Offshore major hazard industries (oil and gas) are regulated jointly by us and the Department for Environment and Climate Change.
It supports the work of the Office for Nuclear Regulation, the Office of Road and Rail Regulation and the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency.
It also works closely with the Civil Aviation Authority and Maritime Coastguard Agency.
A complete list of all the regulators we have formal agreements with is available online.
Where is HSE based?
Headquartered in Bootle, near Liverpool, the HSE headquarters address is: Redgrave Court, Merton Road, Bootle, Merseyside, L20 7HS.
There are also several other offices around the country. To find your nearest office or knowledge – centre see this page on the HSE website.
Reporting incidents to HSE
All incidents can be reported using an online form, but a telephone service remains for reporting fatal and major injuries only – call the HSE Incident Contact Centre on 0345 300 9923 (opening hours Monday to Friday 8.30 am to 5 pm).
Latest HSE articles
Coronavirus advice for employers
At the latest government press briefing, on Thursday 9 July, Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden revealed that theatres and music venues can restart outdoor performances from Saturday 11 July, with outdoor sports, including team sports, also be able to restart in stages from this weekend and indoor venues to follow on 25 July. However, the lockdown restrictions in Leicester remain in place, following a spike of infections in the city.
Woman dies after London crane collapses
A woman has died, and four people have been injured after a 20m tower crane collapsed onto a row of houses in Bow, London.
Tile manufacturer fined after employee suffered serious injuries
A tile manufacturing firm has been fined £10,000 after a worker suffered three broken bones in his arm and crush injuries to his forearm when he was drawn into the in-running nip of a conveyor tail drum.
HSE urges businesses to make sure they are COVID-secure
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has called for businesses to follow the government’s 5 steps to being COVID-secure as the lockdown eases and more sectors are set to open their doors.
Workplace fatality figures released for 2019/20
The construction sector has had the highest number of workplace fatalities over the last 12 months, with falling from height still recorded as the most common cause of work-related death. The latest HSE figures also highlight the risks to older workers, with 27% of fatal injuries occurring to workers aged over 60.
School fined after a pupil severely injured by band saw
A school has been fined following an incident where a pupil sustained severe cuts to his middle and index finger on his right hand and serious tendon damage, when using a band saw.
Mental health in the workplace
Mental health, the roles of an employer when it comes to looking after the mental health of employees and how to manage mental health in the workplace.
3 steps for returning to work with material handling equipment
Material handling equipment provider Mentor offers some simple steps to getting operators and equipment safely back up and running, as lockdown eases.
Keeping manufacturing facilities running safely during COVID-19
Kirsty Adams, Editor of SHD Logistics Magazine, catches-up with Combilift’s Martin McVicar to discuss safety measures introduced at the manufacturer’s County Monaghan plant due to COVID-19, and the ever-important issues around fork lift safety.
HSE visual guide on home-workers’ workstation set-up
The HSE has published video guidance on how to set up workstations when working from home. It advises workers not
Welding equipment the most common cause of construction hot works fires
A Freedom of Information request to Welsh Fire & Rescue Service, submitted by health and safety training provide CE Safety has uncovered that there were 17 fires caused by hot works in the Welsh construction sector last year.
Employee crush injury leads to fine for construction firm
A construction company has been fined after a worker was seriously injured while erecting a timber frame chalet bungalow.
HSE issues safety alert against using KN95 facemask as PPE
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is warning against the use of KN95 facemasks as Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
Manufacturing firm fined after worker is fatally crushed
‘This was a tragic and wholly avoidable incident, caused by the failure of the company to provide adequate guarding against dangerous parts of the machine.’
Most recent HSE statistics show limited action against management
When reinforcing the message of safety non-compliance to managers and directors, sometimes the threat of individual prosecution may be the only way to get through. But do the statistics support that position, when the lack of individual prosecutions is considered? A Freedom of Information Act request yields some interesting answers.
£1.2m fine for oil company after workers suffer multiple burns
Oil refinery company, Phillips 66 Ltd was sentenced for safety breaches after two workers suffered life-changing injuries from an uncontrolled release of high pressure and high temperature steam.
£1.1m fine after ladder fall
A London-based relocation and refurbishment company has been fined after a worker was seriously injured when he fell from height.
Lightwater Valley Theme Park: HSE to prosecute after child rollercoaster fall
A seven-year-old boy was taken to hospital after falling from the Twister rollercoaster at Lightwater Valley Theme Park, near Ripon, in North Yorkshire.
Post lockdown reoccupation of properties
Water Hygiene Centre provides some pointers for consideration for when the end of the lockdown is announced and properties that are currently “mothballed” will be brought back into use and reoccupied.
Guiding safety – How are sentencing guidelines determined?
In this article, particularly in view of the difficulty posed in predicting with certainty where, in a range of potential financial penalties, the fine that will be imposed will land, Paul Verrico, Partner at Eversheds Sutherland and Claire Watson, Associate at Eversheds Sutherland, look at the nine steps set out in the Sentencing Guideline and ask what a duty holder can do to prepare for a hearing.
Mentor remains on hand to help businesses meet HSE guidelines for vital MHE training
In line with the HSE’s recent statement that basic lift truck training remains essential during the coronavirus pandemic, Mentor FLT Training is offering a number of materials and courses to help businesses stay safe and compliant during this critical time.
Download: April 2020 Legislation Update
Coronavirus has become a top priority for employers all over the world. The pandemic event is putting pressure on already stretched employers to do more to keep up to date and protect the health, safety and welfare of their employees. Download this free legislation update to understand all the latest guidelines, laws and regulations. The eBook covers:
- Coronavirus legislation;
- Changes to workplace exposure limits;
- Key cases in recent months;
- Environment and Energy;
- and much more…