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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

Provisional data shows that a total of 142 workers were killed at work in Great Britain in 2020/21, an increase of 29 from the previous year, though the number of deaths in 2019/20 (113) was low compared to other recent years.

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 2016/17-2020/21 is 136.

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.

Workplace fatality figures by sector in 2020/21

  • Workers falling from height (35).
  • Being struck by a moving vehicle (25), and
  • Being struck by a moving object (17).

Those three causes of death account for more than half of fatalities in 2020/21. Click here for more on annual workplace fatality figures.

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.

Latest HSE articles

How can employers tackle loneliness?

Alex Minett, Head of Products and Markets at CHAS looks at how employers can tackle this issue as part of the wider mental health agenda.

Farming company fined after fatality

Yorkshire Dairy Goats has been fined for safety breaches after a farm worker was run over and fatally wounded.

Lancashire County Council fined over Hand Arm Vibration issues

Lancashire County Council has been fined after several employees carrying out work in the highways department developed a debilitating nerve condition as a result of failure to control exposure to vibration.

Asbestos removal company fined for failing to protect workers from risk

An asbestos management company has been fined and two of its employees have been jailed for failing to protect workers from asbestos exposure during a major refurbishment project.

‘Set 40-year deadline for non-domestic building asbestos removal’, MPs say 

The Government must commit to a strategy to remove all asbestos from public and commercial buildings within 40 years, MPs have said, with the risk to health only likely to increase as buildings are adapted with the move to net zero. 

HSE safety alert: Mast climbing work platforms (MCWPs) 

The HSE has issued a safety alert advising of a serious technical fault found with mast climbing work platforms (MCWPs). 

Gas fitter and builder sentenced for unregistered gas work

A gas fitter and building company have been sentenced following unsafe and unregistered gas work.

Company fined after employee’s arm was crushed in a conveyor belt

A skip hire company has been fined after an employee sustained crush injuries to his arm.

Engineering firm fined £500,000 after fatal incident

An engineering company specialising in the manufacture of containers and drums for the nuclear, aerospace and medical industries has been sentenced after a worker was fatally injured.

Plans put in place to help hospitality businesses recognise the signs of work-related stress

The Burnt Chef Project has joined forces with the Health and Safety Executive’s Working Minds campaign to tackle work-related stress in the hospitality industry.

Coronavirus advice for employers

Boris Johnson has announced that all legal requirements to self-isolate in England will come to an end on Thursday 24 February, as he set out plans for ‘living with COVID’.

Building Safety Bill: Bill receives Royal Assent to become the Building Safety Act

The Building Safety Bill received Royal Assent on 28 April 2022, and has now completed all the parliamentary stages in both Houses to become an Act of Parliament – The Building Safety Act. 

Manufacturing company fined after employee injured by unguarded machinery

A company that manufactures soft furnishings has been fined after an employee sustained serious hand injuries whilst working on an automatic duvet rolling machine.

Priory Healthcare pleads guilty following death of 21-year-old patient

Priory Healthcare Ltd pleaded guilty to failing to discharge a duty, which led to the death of 21-year-old Francesca Whyatt.

International Workers’ Memorial Day: ‘Construction employers must insure workers – or be removed from sites’

Construction union Unite is demanding that leading construction clients and principal contractors ensure that all workers on their projects are fully protected by death and injury insurance – or be removed from sites.

Manufacturing company fined after worker falls from ladder whilst installing security camera

A jam and preserve manufacturer has been prosecuted after a worker sustained multiple fractures after falling from a ladder.

Construction company fined after building collapse

A construction company has been fined after much of a three-bedroom domestic property collapsed during a loft conversion and ground floor extension work.

Should employers be taking a gendered approach to managing stress and mental health?

Philip Crosbie from law firm Eversheds Sutherland considers whether employers should be taking a gendered approach to managing stress and mental health?

Company fined after worker died following fall from shipping container

A transport and haulage company was sentenced after a worker died after falling from the rear of a transport shipping container.

Employee safety starts with data collection and analysis

With the right data collection and analysis solutions in place, organisations can improve safety within their logistics teams, explains Peter Ruffley, CEO, Zizo, and Ian Brown, CEO, Excelpoint.

Chemical company fined after worker suffered burns

A chemical firm has been sentenced for safety breaches after a 31-year-old worker suffered 13% superficial burns to his right arm and hand following the ignition of flammable vapours at the company’s site

Hospitality venues urged to arrange checks for outdoor installations ahead of busy period

Pubs, restaurants and other hospitality venues are being urged to make sure electrical installations and electrical equipment for use in outdoor spaces are safe as they enter the spring and summer season.

HSE inspections target woodworking businesses to tackle occupational lung disease

From April, health and safety inspectors across Great Britain will be visiting business within woodworking industries such as sawmilling, manufacture of composite boards, and carpentry, as well as other industries where wood dust exposure can occur.

Farmer fined after worker becomes entangled in potato harvester

A farmer has been sentenced after a worker suffered multiple injuries after becoming entangled in the contra-rotating rollers of a potato harvester.

Scrap metal firm fined £2m over death of worker

A company and three of its bosses have been fined more than £2m over the death of a worker who suffered catastrophic head injuries at a scrap metal recycling plant.

HSE research provides new insight into asbestos exposures to licensed removal workers

A new HSE report has unveiled research into asbestos exposures to licensed removal workers in Great Britain, assessing compliance with HSE guidance.

Health and safety has never been so visible – could we lose focus in 2022?

Simon Walter, Co-Director at Rhino Safety, shares his thoughts on the role health and safety should play in the workplace in 2022.

Principal contractor sentenced for unsafe excavation work

A principal contractor has been sentenced after he was found to have supervised unsafe excavation work at a site, which put workers in danger and rendered the neighbouring property unstable.

Croydon tram crash: ORR opens prosecutions against driver

The ORR has opened prosecutions against the driver of the Croydon tram which crashed, killing seven people, in November 2016.

Building in Stevenage collapses onto street

Swingate House, a derelict building currently under demolition in Stevenage, Hertfordshire, has collapsed onto the pavement.

Company fined after worker suffered fall from height

Infiniti Roofing and Construction Ltd has been sentenced for breaches of safety regulations after an employee fell through a gap in scaffolding and sustained multiple injuries.

Construction company prosecuted after workers fall from height

A construction company has been sentenced following an incident where two bricklayers fell from height during the construction of a parapet wall.

A letting company and its director have been fined for gas safety failings

A letting agent company and its director have been fined for failing to carry out essential safety checks on gas appliances in their rental property.

‘I hid the fact I was pregnant for a long time at work; I feared being replaced’, OneWISH – Breaking the bias for International Women’s Day

On International Women’s Day 2022, OneWISH, hosted a series of webinars following the theme ‘Break the Bias’.

Farmer sentenced after child fatally injured in fall from farm vehicle

The mother of a four-year-old boy who fell from a farm vehicle and was run over sustaining fatal injuries has called for a change in attitude in agriculture.

Contractor fined for failing to comply with health and safety regulations

A sole trader has been fined for failing to plan, manage and monitor construction work being carried out under their control.

Company fined after a worker falls from height when platform collapses

A civil engineering company has been sentenced after a worker suffered life threatening injuries after falling 15 metres when a platform he was working on unexpectedly collapsed.

Company and director prosecuted after 15-year-old boy suffers serious burn injuries

A metal recycling firm and its director have been sentenced after a 15-year-old employee of the company suffered serious burns following an explosion and flash fire.

School fined after teaching assistant injured in fall from height

A school has been sentenced after an employee fell through the ceiling of the school hall, causing a major injury.

Cases ‘a damning indictment of a company’ that consistently permitted unsafe systems of work – HSE

J Murphy Aggregates Ltd, Shaun Murphy and James Duggan have been sentenced at Leeds Crown Court for safety breaches after a worker was struck by a falling excavator.

Citadel Church collapse: Four men receive suspended prison sentences

Four men have received suspended prison sentences following the collapse of the former Citadel Church in Splott, Cardiff. And four firms received combined fines of more than £340,000.

Houses of Parliament renovation paused due to asbestos exposure

Up to nine members of parliamentary staff and multiple contractors may have been exposed to asbestos between October and November 2021.

Scrap company fined after worker suffers crush injuries

A motor vehicle scrap company and a director have been fined after a worker suffered crush injuries in an incident involving a forklift truck.

Manufacturing company fined after employee suffered fatal injury

A manufacturing company has been fined after an employee was found fatally injured under the forks of a side-loader lift truck.

Recycling firm admits causing manslaughter of employee who died of fatal head injuries

Managers at a recycling firm where a scrap metal worker was killed after suffering head injuries have admitted health and safety failures.

School prosecuted after mountain rescue team called to evacuate children

A group of schoolchildren had to be rescued by Keswick Mountain Rescue Team (KMRT) from Helvellyn after becoming stranded in winter conditions.

Manufacturing firm in court after worker’s finger crushed

A manufacturing company has been fined after an employee’s hand was drawn into the rotating parts of a machine, resulting in serious injury.

The missing link in manual handling

The statistics are impossible to ignore. 470,000 workers suffered from a work-related MSDs in Great Britain in 2020-21. In 2019-20 MSDs accounted for 8.9million lost working days in Great Britain.

Farmer sentenced after walker killed by cattle

A farmer has been sentenced for safety breaches after an 83-year-old man was fatally attacked by cattle.

£5m fine after fatal gas explosion

Northern Gas Networks Ltd has been sentenced for safety breaches after a fire and gas explosion at residential premises resulted in the death of the homeowner.

Firm fined after 18-year-old employee injured

A recycling company has been fined after an employee was injured whilst clearing a blockage in a waste metal chute.

Suspended sentence for owner of roofing firm

A roofing company owner has been given a suspended sentence after a member of the public reported a concern regarding unsafe work at height.

Scaffolding contractor fined after worker sustains multiple injuries in fall

A scaffolding contractor has been fined after a worker fell from height resulting in serious injuries.

Contractor given suspended sentence after carrying out illegal gas work

A self-employed contractor has been given a suspended sentence and community service after undertaking gas work on a property whilst not being gas safe registered.

Builder prosecuted for exposing employees to asbestos during unsafe removal

A builder has been prosecuted after his employees were exposed to asbestos while refurbishing domestic premises.

Company sentenced after fatal fall through fragile asbestos roof

A firm has been sentenced after an employee of a construction company was fatally injured when he fell six metres through a roof whilst working on a replacement roof project.

Gas engineering company fined for unsafe LPG installation work

A gas engineering company has been fined after undertaking Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG) installation work at a food factory near Spalding that was later condemned as being unsafe.

Company fined after employee injures finger in saw incident

An export services company has been fined after an employee suffered serious injuries when his finger came into contact with a saw blade.

Approaches to managing the risks associated with Musculoskeletal disorders

Matt Birtles, HSE’s Principal Ergonomics Consultant, looks at the different approaches to managing the risks associated with Musculoskeletal disorders.

Law relating to building safety in England is changing

HSE has continued its work with partners in the public and private sector to develop information that it hopes will form a toolkit for building owners and managers.

Directors fined for unlicensed asbestos removal

The managing director and the director of a printing company, have been fined for safety breaches after organising the removal of asbestos insulation board by untrained personnel.

Manual handling? Don’t do it until you have risk assessed!

In this on-demand webinar, sponsored by NEBOSH, you’ll get top tips for undertaking a manual handling risk assessment.

Manufacturing company fined after workers exposed to risk

A metals fabrication company has been sentenced for health breaches after several workers were diagnosed with hand arm vibration syndrome (HAVS) or carpal tunnel syndrome.

Care home company fined after resident choked to death

HC-One Limited has been fined following an incident when a resident choked to death on a jam doughnut.

Construction worker dies after falling from tower

A construction company has been fined after an employee died as a result of falling from a mobile tower.

Companies fined after employee fractures leg at reservoir

A contractor and a water management company have been fined after a worker was injured when he was hit by a 1.5 tonne water valve.

Fraudulent gas installer prosecuted for illegal gas work

A gas installer has been fined after repeatedly carrying out gas work whilst falsely claiming to be gas safe registered.

Manufacturer fined after employee’s arm was pulled into rollers of slitter machine

A manufacturing company has been fined after an employee’s hand became caught between two driven rollers and was pulled into the machine.

10 issues set to affect construction supply chains in 2022

Supply chain risk management expert CHAS, highlights ten issues that will affect construction supply chains in 2022.  

Demolition work must be properly planned and managed to prevent serious injury

The HSE is asking that businesses properly plan, organise, manage, and monitor their work and use competent people to avoid incidents and ill health amongst their workers and the public.

Contractor prosecuted due to partial collapse of building

A building contractor has been prosecuted after carrying out unsafe excavation works, which resulted in the partial collapse of a residential building.

Waste treatment company fined after employee fatality

A hazardous waste treatment company has been fined after an employee died when a forklift truck he was driving overturned and crushed him.

The Impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the interpretation of Health and Safety Statistics 2020/21

A Technical Report has been published by the HSE to coincide with the publication of the annual set of national statistics on health and safety at work.

Printing firm fined after employees injured

A commercial printing company has been sentenced for safety breaches after two employees were injured in separate incidents involving a printing press and a palletising machine.

Livestock market prosecuted for unsafe cattle handling arrangements

A livestock market partnership has been prosecuted after an employee was attacked by a horned bull prior to auction.

Company prosecuted after worker injures hand in lathe

A UK manufacturer of brick products has been fined for safety breaches after a worker’s hand was entangled and wrapped around the rotating shaft on a lathe.

Company and care home owner admit criminal liability after care home resident dies following lift fall

A lift maintenance company has been sentenced and a care home owner cautioned after a resident and care worker plunged four metres to the basement in a faulty lift at a residential care home.

Foundry sentenced after worker suffers life-changing burns

A foundry has been sentenced for safety breaches after an employee suffered life-changing burns following an eruption of molten slag during a slag tipping procedure.

FA, Premier League, EFL & PFA announces joint brain health initiative

The FA, Premier League, EFL and Professional Footballers Association (PFA) announce new joint action plan on understanding brain health.

HSE publishes annual work-related ill-health, injury and enforcement statistics for 2020/21

1.7 million workers suffering from a work-related illness, around half of which were stress, depression or anxiety.

Sawmill fined after worker’s finger is severed in machinery

A sawmill has been fined after a worker injured his finger when his hand came into contact with the moving parts of a machine.

HSE urges designers to prepare for upcoming changes to building safety

The HSE is prompting high-rise building designers to prepare for coming changes when the Building Safety Bill becomes law. 

Director sentenced after apprentice injured in fall from height

The director of an air conditioning company has been sentenced after a worker sustained a broken back when he fell five metres to the ground.

Food manufacturing company fined after worker injures finger in machinery

A food manufacturing company has been fined for safety breaches after a hygiene operative suffered a serious injury when his hand came into contact with a mixer.

Contractor sentenced after asbestos disturbance in public park

A contractor has been awarded 100 hours community service and 10 days Rehabilitation Activity following a conviction of health and safety breaches after labourers disturbed asbestos and worked dangerously at height while refurbishing a disused park toilet block.

Should point of use filters always be a temporary control measure?

Daniel Pitcher provides SHP’s readers with an insight into what was discussed in The Healthcare Infection Society’s September webinar.

Construction company in court over inadequate health and safety standards

A national construction company has been fined after an unannounced inspection by HSE inspectors found poor welfare standards, dangerous electrical systems and inadequate health and safety provision on site.

Manufacturing firm guilty of repeated breaches of health and safety law

A company which manufactures perimeter protection products has been fined after repeated breaches of health and safety law over a period of eighteen months, including contravention of an Improvement Notice.

HSE releases guidance on managing home workers’ health and safety 

According to new guidance from the HSE, employers have the same health and safety responsibilities for people working at home as for any other worker.

£60k fine for farm after employee crushed during demolition project

Farming partnership, J & D Foster Farms LLP, has been fined following an incident on its farm where a 21-year-old employee was killed whilst dismantling a redundant piece of farming equipment.

Webinar: Wellbeing by numbers

Catch-up or listen again to this session:

  • Learn how to use data to shape your workplace wellbeing strategy;
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  • Understand how the changing priorities and pressures of the pandemic have influenced wellbeing programmes;
  • Walk away with a health & wellbeing toolkit that will help you implement and evaluate your wellbeing strategy.

Join Westfield Health CEO, Dave Capper, Professor Jeff Breckon from the Advanced Wellbeing Research Centre at Sheffield Hallam University and Sky Wellbeing Health & Fitness Manager Alistair Hugo, now...

Safety Differently

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