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Safety and Health Practitioner (SHP) is first for independent health and safety news.
April 27, 2016

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HSE

Health and Safety Executive (HSE)

What does HSE stand for?

HSE-logoThe 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.

Click here to visit The Health and Safety Executive website.

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.

HSE prosecutions

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

HSE data shows that a total of 135 workers died in work-related incidents in Great Britain in 2022/23, an increase of 12 from the previous year.

In statistical terms the number of fatalities has remained broadly level in recent years – the average annual number of workers killed at work over the five years 2017/18-2021/22 is 134.

Over the past 20 years there has been a long-term reduction in the number of workplace fatalities, demonstrating that Great Britain is one of the safest places to work in the world.

The figures released by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) relate to workplace incidents. They do not include deaths arising from occupational exposure to disease, including COVID-19.

The construction and agriculture, forestry and fishing sectors continue to account for the greatest number of workers killed in fatal accidents each year.

Workplace fatality figures

  • Workers falling from height (40)
  • Being struck by a moving vehicle (29), and
  • Being struck by a moving, including flying/falling object (20)

Those three causes of death account for more than half of fatalities in 2022/23. Click here for more on annual workplace fatality figures.

Key figures for Great Britain (2021/22)

  • 1.8 million working people suffering from a work-related illness, of which
  • 914,000 workers suffering work-related stress, depression or anxiety
  • 477,000 workers suffering from a work-related musculoskeletal disorder
  • 123,000 workers suffering from COVID-19 which they believe may have been from exposure to coronavirus at work
  • 2,544 mesothelioma deaths due to past asbestos exposures (2020)
  • 123 workers killed in work-related accidents
  • 565,000 working people sustained an injury at work according to the Labour Force Survey
  • 61,713 injuries to employees reported under RIDDOR
  • 36.8 million working days lost due to work-related illness and workplace injury
  • £18.8 billion estimated cost of injuries and ill health from current working conditions (2019/20)

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.

COMAH

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).

Safety & Health Podcast

Subscribe and tune in the Safety & Health Podcast to discover the latest issues facing the health and safety profession, and stay on-top of the developments affecting your role, from working at height, lone working and common workplace hazards, to safety culture, behaviours, occupational health and mental health and wellbeing.

Listen as Peter Kelly, Senior Psychologist for the Health and Safety Executive, talks about work-related stress and the impact the coronavirus pandemic has had on employee mental health, and a discussion on the upcoming ISO45003 Standard.

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Latest HSE articles

Engineering company fined after workers loses two fingers

An engineering firm in Perth has been fined £10,000 after an employee lost two of his fingers.

Bedding manufacturer fined after employees suffer serious injuries

A bedding manufacturer has been fined more than £250,000 after two of its employees were seriously injured during separate incidents at its site in Rochdale.

Livestock focus as HSE campaign bids to improve safety on Britain’s farms

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) aims to focus on the dangers of livestock as it relaunches its Your Farm, Your Future campaign this month.

Manufacturing company fined £300k after worker’s finger amputated

A West Yorkshire cosmetic manufacturing company has been fined after a worker lost part of a finger while cleaning a machine.

Company fined £450k and director and site manager sentenced following death of labourer

A company has been fined £450,000 and the firm’s director has received a suspended prison sentence after a labourer was crushed to death at a construction site.

Farming company fined £320k after a man died from fall

A company involved in fruit and vegetable production has been fined £320,000 after a man was killed at a site in Burscough.

Textiles firm fined after worker’s arm dragged into machine

A textiles company has been fined £60,000 after a man broke his arm when it was dragged into machinery at

Legal Lens – Health and safety lessons to be learned from Timmins Waste Services’ prosecution

This month, Beth Thompson (Associate) and Kirstie Imber (Associate) consider the successful convictions of Timmins Waste Services and its yard manager, Brian Timmins.

Worktops firm fined after repeated failures to protect employees

A Stockport-based stone worktop manufacturer has been fined £26,000 for repeatedly putting its workers at risk.

Construction company fined £330k after worker killed by an excavator

A North Yorkshire construction company has been fined after a worker was struck on the head and killed by a 16-ton excavator.

Company fined after 21-year-old worker dies

A company in Peterborough has been fined £67,000 after a young employee lost his life.

Metalworking fluids: Most businesses inspected ‘not doing enough’ to protect workers

In September last year (2023), the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) announced it was carrying out inspections on manufacturing businesses that use metalworking fluids or coolants. Since then more than half of these checks have identified failings.

Manufacturing company fined for wood dust failures

A manufacturing company has been fined £15,000 after exposing its own workers to wood dust and failing to comply with two improvement notices.

Recycling company fined £2m after worker killed by loading shovel

A recycling company has been fined £2.15 million after an agency worker was killed by a loading shovel at its site in Hartlepool.

Company fined after hospital staff left with life-changing conditions

A company in York has been fined more than £16,000 after staff at a hospital were left with life-changing medical conditions after being exposed to ionised hydrogen peroxide.

Man handed community order for illegal removal of asbestos

A Hartlepool man has been handed a community order after he admitted removing asbestos from a school when he wasn’t licenced to do so.

Company and director prosecuted after scaffolder suffers electric shock

A Kent scaffolding company has been fined and its director given a suspended prison sentence after a scaffolder suffered an 11,000-volt electric shock.

Garden landscaper sentenced after worker dies

A garden landscaper has been handed a suspended prison sentence after a worker was killed when a moving circular saw kicked back into his groin.

NHS trust fined £480k after employee found unconscious in manhole

Kettering General Hospital NHS Foundation Trust has been fined £480,000 after an employee suffered a brain injury after he was found unconscious in a manhole.

Joinery firm fined for health and safety failings

A joinery firm in south east London has been fined £14,000 for health and safety failings, including putting its workers at risk of exposure to wood dust.

Farming business fined after a walker dies in cattle incident

A farming business has been fined after a member of the public died after being butted several times by a cow in front of two onlooking grandchildren.

Offshore drilling company fined after crane boom collapse

An offshore drilling company has been fined after a crane boom collapsed catastrophically.

Company fined £900k after man crushed to death

A company in Leicestershire has been fined £900,000 after a father-of-two was crushed to death.

Company and director sentenced after worker fractures arm and leg

A company and its director have been sentenced after an employee fell from height and suffered serious injuries.

Company fined after worker spotted on pallet raised by forklift truck

A company has been fined £100k after onlookers spotted an employee working from height while standing on a pallet raised by a forklift truck at Ramsgate Harbour.

North Wales health board fined after failings resulted in woman’s death

One of the largest health boards in Wales has been fined £200,000 after a patient died in its care. Llandudno

Yard manager and company sentenced following death of employee in shredder

A yard manager has been jailed for seven-and-a-half years and a company fined £400,000 after an employee was killed in an industrial shredder.

Offshore companies fined £1.2m after man injured on North Sea gangway

Two offshore companies have been fined a combined total of more than £1.2m after an offshore worker’s feet were crushed while walking along a gangway over the North Sea.

Textiles firm fined £100k after worker loses hand

A linen services company has been fined £100,000 after a man’s hand had to be amputated.

Nathan Baker – Institute of Occupational Medicine

Nathan Baker, CEO at the Institute of Occupational Medicine, says it’s time to reassess safety for a modern workforce.

Newport City Council fined £2m after man killed carrying out road repair

Newport City Council has been fined £2million after a man was killed while carrying out road repair works.

SHP’s top 10 health and safety prosecutions of 2023

From health and safety failings and negligence to insufficient risk assessments leading to fatalities, have a read of the major health and safety prosecutions of 2023. 

Care home fined £125,000 after teenager’s death

A care home in Bristol has been fined for not doing enough to keep people safe from vulnerable patients who posed a danger to themselves and others.

Building Safety Regulator sets out three-year plan to create competent built environment and restore trust in sector

The Building Safety Regulator has published its first three-year strategic plan outlining its overarching direction and vision to improve safety standards and galvanise culture change.

£600k fine for premium yacht maker after worker suffers life changing injuries

A premium yacht maker has been charged with a £600,000 fine after one of its workers suffered life changing injuries at its shipyard in Plymouth.

Renowned cider manufacturer fined £1.4m after man died

A cider manufacturer has been fined £1.4 million after a man was killed on his 65th birthday.

Lift maintenance company fined after engineer fatally crushed

A lift maintenance company has been fined after an employee died while working at a factory run by Muller Yogurt and Desserts.

New online learning tool launched by HSE to help address work-related stress

An online learning tool designed to prevent work-related stress has been launched by the HSE as part of its Working Mind’s campaign. 

Fine for company after HSE inspection failures

A manufacturing business in Lincolnshire has been fined for failing to protect its workers from hazardous substances.

McCain Foods fined £700k after employee loses fingers

A frozen food company has been fined £700,000 after an employee lost two of his fingers following an incident at the firm’s premises in Lincolnshire.

£800k fine after stunt performer sustains life-changing injuries on Fast and Furious movie set

A production company has been fined after a stunt performer was injured during the filming of Fast and Furious 9: The Fast Saga, amongst calls for improvements to health and safety on set. 

Entertainment company fined after worker dies from fall

A company in the entertainment industry has been fined £16,000 following the death of a worker.

HSE annual workplace stats: Rise in construction deaths while 1.8m cite work-related ill health

Nearly two million workers in Great Britain reported suffering from work-related ill health in 2022/23 as construction sector reports rise in fatalities.

Aberdeen firm fined after man suffers horrific injuries cleaning machine

An Aberdeen joinery and manufacturing company has been fined £9,400 after one of its workers suffered horrific injuries while cleaning a machine.

Manufacturer fined after workers fall from height

A manufacturer of shopping trolleys has been fined after two men fell approximately three metres when a metal cage they were dismantling collapsed beneath them.

How can we reduce and prevent occupational hearing loss? UKHCA Conference 2023  

The annual UKHCA conference took place in Sheffield this month, providing an overview of hearing health, risk management and control with noise at work.

Priory Healthcare fined following death of 21-year-old patient

Priory Healthcare Ltd has been fined for failing to ensure the safety of patients on the hospital’s Emerald Ward following the death of 21-year-old Francesca Whyatt.

Two men injured after cradle falls nine floors at London tower block build

Two men working on a residential tower under construction in London were fortunate to escape death when a defective cradle they were in fell about 90 feet.

Barcode Warehouse fined £500k after forklift truck death

Manufacturing company, Barcode Warehouse Ltd has been fined £500,000 after a man died when a forklift truck overturned. 

Funfair company fined £300k and manager jailed after three-year-old dies

An operations manager at a funfair company has been jailed for six months after a three-year-old girl died on a Norfolk beach. 

Specialist lifting company fined after two workers fell from a crane

A specialist heavy lifting company has been fined after two men fell from height during the assembly of a crane.

Suspended prison sentence for builder over gas safety failures

A builder has avoided an immediate spell behind bars after being convicted of carrying out gas work at a property in Berkshire when he was not qualified to do so.

Demolition company fined after building falls on worker

Company fined after a Victorian building falls on a labourer during demolition work in Kilburn, North West London.

Companies fined after labourer fractures skull

Two companies have been fined £46,000 in total after a labourer from Runcorn fractured his skull.

Unregistered gas fitter jailed for illegal and unsafe gas work

A West Midlands self-employed plumber has been jailed after carrying out further illegal and unsafe gas work.

Construction company fined £240,000 after residents put at risk during cladding removal

A health and safety inspector found dangerous cladding lying on residents’ balconies at a Liverpool apartment block, posing a serious fire risk.

Companies fined total of £420K after child suffers fractured skull

Three companies have been fined a total of £420,000 after a slate tile fractured the skull of a three-year-old child.

Food processing company fined after worker suffers serious injuries

A company has been fined £20,000 after an employee’s arm was drawn into machinery and seriously injured.

Construction Company fined after serious injury to 16-year-old on work experience

A 16-year-old boy suffered serious injuries after becoming trapped under a tractor while on paid work experience.

London waste firm fined £260,000 after worker suffers severe crush injuries

A waste and recycling company in London has been fined £260,000 after a worker sustained severe crush injuries during maintenance work.

Sole trader fined following workers’ exposure to wood dust

A Lincolnshire-based sole trader has been fined after his employees were exposed to a hazardous substance.

Leeds bird farm fined after worker suffers serious burns in shed blaze

A bird farm in Leeds has been fined £26,680 after a fire in a rearing shed resulted in serious injuries to one of its employees.

Recycling company fined after worker crushed to death

A recycling company has been fined £40,000 after its failure to maintain the lifting equipment on a refuse vehicle caused the death of an employee.

Three companies fined total of £600k after engineer electrocuted

Three companies have been fined a total of £600,000 after an engineer was fatally electrocuted while repairing an appliance in a hospital kitchen.

Meat company fined after worker severs fingers

A Herefordshire butchers has been fined after a teenage worker severed four fingers while operating machinery that hadn’t been suitably guarded.

No effective design or planning to eliminate risks from dust at some UK construction sites, HSE campaign finds

Some UK construction sites have no effective design or planning to eliminate risks from dust and the hierarchy of controls is simply not considered at all, says the regulator.

Dockside company sentenced after worker seriously injured on trawler

A dockside warehousing company has been fined £127,500 after a worker fell 25ft through an open hatch on a trawler which had no edge protection.

Company fined £1.275m after man crushed to death

A company in Birmingham has been fined £1,275,000 after a 26-year-old man was crushed to death during maintenance work at Mountsorrel Quarry in Leicestershire.

Haulage company fined £100k after worker dies from injuries

A haulage company in Wales has been fined £100,000 after a worker fell from a loading bay and died.

HSE officials to assess management of asbestos in schools

The officials will visit schools across the UK to assess the management of asbestos in buildings.

Company fined for putting worker at ionising radiation risk

A company in Berkshire has been fined £16,000 after putting an employee at risk of exposure to ionising radiation.

Carbon monoxide – the silent killer

RoSPA’s Dr Karen McDonnell, on the vital need to be aware of carbon monoxide risks in all spheres of life.

Company and director fined for putting workers at welding fume risk

A West Midlands engineering company and its managing director have been fined for failing to protect their workers from welding fume.

Two construction firms fined after man suffers serious injuries

Two construction companies have been fined a combined total of £120,000 after a groundworker suffered horrific injuries when heavy drainage pipes fell on top of him.

RAAC: How big of an issue is it?

Zoe Pond, Senior Associate, and Claire Burrows, Partner, at Brabners LLP on the long-term impact of RAAC.

£3m fine for waste management company after two deaths

A waste management firm has been fined a total of £3 million following the deaths of two workers in separate incidents.

Company fined after worker suffers life-changing injuries in fall

A Cumbrian construction company has been fined after a man was critically injured falling 10m through the roof of an industrial unit.

What exactly is risk management?

Ahead of a webinar on redefining risk management, Evotix’s Langdon Dement gives a great overview of what it really means and what steps you can take to embed it in your workplace.

Printing company fined after worker’s hand crushed

A commercial printing company has been fined £100,000 after an employee’s hand was crushed by a laminating machine. The man

RAAC: Initial legal insight

Over 150 schools have now been identified as having Reinforced Autoclave Aerated Concrete (RAAC) in their buildings. Law firm Fieldfisher LLP offers legal advice on the ramifications.

Company fined after workers injured by explosion

A manufacturing company in West Yorkshire has been fined £200,000 after workers were injured by an explosion.

Manchester company director fined after obstructing HSE investigation

A Manchester-based construction company and its director have been fined after health and safety failings following an inspection.

School trust fined after children injured by classroom ceiling collapse

An educational trust has been fined after 15 schoolchildren and their teacher were injured when their classroom ceiling collapsed during a lesson.

£535k fine for oil and gas firm after man injured on North Sea platform

Repsol Sinopec Resources UK Limited has been fined £535,000 after a worker sustained life changing injuries following the uncontrolled collapse of a crane.

Construction firm fined for asbestos exposure during renovation work

A Warrington-based construction company has been fined £90,000 after exposing people to asbestos during a renovation project in the Hanley area of Stoke-on-Trent.

Five HS2 workers injured in incident

Inspectors from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) are investigating an incident today (29 August) where five HS2 workers were injured.

Farm fined after man electrocuted

A farm has been fined £60,000 following the death of a man who was electrocuted by an overhead power line.

HSE flag potential issue around footwear standard

The HSE has flagged a potential issue regarding the testing of safety boots to the American Standard ASTM F2412-18A.

Compensation claims and strains – is AI the solution?

Gareth Buchanan COO at Soter Analytics suggests Artificial Intelligence (AI) could be the answer to the UK’s workplace injury crisis.

Road Haulage Association joins HSE’s Working Minds campaign

HSE has launched a campaign saying that more needs to be done to protect Britain’s HGV drivers from work-related stress.

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