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August 27, 2023

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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 2023/24

  • Workers falling from height (50)
  • Being struck by a moving vehicle (25), and
  • Being struck by a moving, including flying/falling object (20)

Those three causes of death account for more than half of fatalities in 2023/24. Click here for more on annual workplace fatality figures.

Key figures for Great Britain (2022/23)

  • 1.8 million working people suffering from a work-related illness, of which
  • 875,000 workers suffering work-related stress, depression or anxiety (new and long-standing)
  • 473,000 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
  • 2,268 mesothelioma deaths linked to past asbestos exposures (2021)
  • 135 workers killed in work-related accidents
  • 561,000 working people sustained a non-fatal injury at work according to the Labour Force Survey
  • 60,645 injuries to employees reported under RIDDOR
  • 35.2 million working days lost due to work-related illness and workplace injury
  • £20.7 billion estimated cost of injuries and ill health from current working conditions (2021/22)

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).

The Safety Conversation Podcast

Subscribe and tune in the The Safety Conversation 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

Company and director fined after worker fractures skull

A company and its director have been fined after an employee was struck by an object while manufacturing large steel cable drums for the offshore industry.

Housing company fined after worker killed by concrete blocks

A housing company has been fined more than £300,000 after a driver was crushed to death by falling concrete blocks at a construction site in South Lanarkshire.

Legal Lens: Openreach fined £1.34m following death of engineer in the River Aber

Barrister Christopher Hopkins joins Fieldfisher’s Andrew Sanderson (Partner) and Krysteen Ormond (Associate) to examine the facts leading to the HSE’s prosecution of Openreach.

Council fined as school technician loses finger

A local authority has been sentenced after a worker lost his finger while operating a machine.

Explosives manufacturer fined £670k after worker dies

A manufacturer of military explosives has been fined £670,000 after an employee was killed and another seriously injured in an explosion at its factory near Salisbury.

HSE annual workplace fatalities: Construction and falls from height deaths rise

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has published its annual statistics on work-related fatalities, with 138 workers killed in work-related accidents, up from 136 last year.

Companies fined after 16-year-old worker exposed to asbestos

Two companies have been fined after a teenage worker was exposed to asbestos.

Charitable trust fined following death of volunteer

A charitable trust has been fined after a volunteer lost his life during restoration work on the Wilts and Berks Canal.

Why temperature control is vital in manufacturing facilities

Dakota Murphey discusses strategies to safeguard employees from heat-related illness and accidents within manufacturing. 

Company fined after delivery driver electrocuted

A company in Berkshire has been fined £30,000 after a father-of-four was electrocuted.

Farming business fined for multiple health and safety risks

A farming business has been fined for multiple health and safety breaches which placed employees and others at risk over many years, in an attempt to cut costs.

Drinks company fined after employee loses finger in bottling machinery

A drinks company has been fined £14,000 after a man’s finger was amputated after being caught in bottling machinery.

Livestock auctioneers fined after man, 75, killed by cow

A company has been fined after a 75-year-old man was killed by a cow that had escaped from a livestock market in Wales.

Man sentenced after carrying out unsafe work on his own home

A man has been given a suspended sentence after he carried out unsafe work on an extension to his own home in Manchester.

How much exposure to wood dust is dangerous? 

The team at Praxis42 discuss the dangers of wood dust exposure, what an employer’s legal responsibilities are, and what practical safety measures can be put in place to protect employees and organisations.

Construction company fined following death of HGV driver

A Nottinghamshire-based engineering and groundworks contractor has been fined £233,000 for safety breaches after a 52-year old HGV driver was struck and killed by the mast of a piling rig at a house build site in Annan, Dumfries and Galloway.

Construction company fined £2.34m after worker drowned in river

A construction company has been fined £2.34 million following the death of a worker.

Car wash firm fined for failing to protect workers and the public

A car wash firm in Devon has been fined £40,000 after it repeatedly failed to protect workers and members of the public from electrical safety risks.

Creating safer forklift truck operations

For National Forklift Truck Safety Day (11 June), we look back at this article from Stuart Taylor of Mentor FLT Training who explains why those working alongside forklift trucks should understand the risks involved.

Tata Chemicals fined £1.1m following man’s death

Tata Chemicals Europe Limited has been fined after a man died following an incident while erecting a scaffold tower in a chemical plant in Northwich.

Openreach fined £1.3m following death of engineer

Openreach Limited has been fined £1.34 million after an engineer died whilst trying to repair a telephone line.

Company fined £30,000 for unsafe removal of asbestos

A company based in Kent has been fined £30,000, and its director fined £5,000, after failing to ensure the safe removal of asbestos across two separate sites.

Skip hire and waste recycling company fined after worker is injured

A family run and owned skip hire, waste and recycling business in Scotland has been fined £24,000 after a worker sustained serious injuries to his left hand and forearm on the blades of a machine.

Companies fined as electrician falls and fractures skull

Two companies have been sentenced after a worker fell from a scissor lift and fractured his skull, leaving him in an induced coma.

Recycling company fined after workers exposed to wood dust

A wood recycling company has been fined after the long-term health of workers was put in danger due to excessive exposure to the dust their work created.

Farmer given suspended jail sentence after man killed by cattle

A West Yorkshire farmer has been fined after his cattle trampled a man to death and left his wife paralysed.

Motorsport engineering firm fined for failing to ensure the health, safety and welfare of its employees

A motorsport engineering firm based in Kent has been fined after Britain’s workplace regulator identified numerous health and safety breaches.

Farming partnership fined after man crushed by hay bales

A farming partnership in Surrey has been fined £36,000 after a man was seriously injured.

Could the HSE take a leaf out of the Environment Agency’s enforcement book?

Matt Kyle, Associate Director at Osborne Clarke, considers how health and safety enforcement is evolving with an eye on the approach of other regulators.

Individuals and company sentenced after mother catapulted from fairground ride

Three individuals and a company have been sentenced after a mother-of-eight was catapulted from a fairground ride in Hillingdon, London.

Waste management company fined after worker suffers burns to body and face

A worker suffered burns to his face and body after the crowbar he was using came into contact with a live electrical conductor.

Companies fined as worker injured at Pirelli factory

Three companies have been fined after a lift truck engineer was seriously injured while working at Pirelli Tyres’ factory in Carlisle.

Company fined as worker falls through roof and fractures back

A company in Manchester has been fined £20,000 after an employee fell through a roof and suffered serious injuries.

Double glazing company boss avoids jail after worker dies

The director of a Croydon-based double glazing company has avoided an immediate spell behind bars following the death of a man.

Company fined after workers exposed to asbestos during hotel demolition

A company director has been fined after workers were exposed to asbestos during the demolition of a hotel in Cornwall.

HSE issues MoD (Army) with Crown Censure following death of soldier

The HSE issued the Ministry of Defence (MoD) with a Crown Censure yesterday (8 May) following the death of a soldier yesterday.

When should you review your first aid policy?

Adam Clarke, Managing Director at Praxis42 says it’s best to review your first aid policy at least once a year for it to continue to be effective.

Contractor fined after carpenter dies

A carpentry contractor has been fined after a 22-year-old man died after he was struck by construction equipment on a building site.

Recycling company fined £1.2m after worker hit by a wagon

A Yorkshire metals recycling company has been fined £1.2m after a worker was injured after being struck by a wagon at a processing site.

Shipping Services company fined after worker loses finger

A company that provides shipping services, cargo handling and storage has been fined after a worker severed part of his finger while at work.

Company and director fined after workers exposed to asbestos

A company and its director have been sentenced after workers were exposed to asbestos and its potential harmful effects.

Company fined after agency worker injured using unguarded machine

A packaging manufacturer has been fined for safety breaches after a worker received severe hand injuries at a factory in Yorkshire.

Housing company fined more than £500k after worker suffers burns

A housing company based in Kent has been fined £528,000 after an employee repairing a fence post inadvertently struck an underground cable, suffering burns to his face.

Company fined as worker has leg amputated

A company that grows mushrooms has been fined after an employee’s leg became trapped in a machine and was later amputated.

Aviation company fined after worker death at Heathrow Airport

An aviation company has been fined £160,000 after a man was crushed to death at London Heathrow Airport during the unloading of baggage containers from an aircraft.

Gogglebox star George Gilbey died after fall through skylight

George Gilbey, a self-employed electrician who appeared on Channel 4’s Gogglebox TV show, died after falling from height at work.

Tobacco firm fined £32,000 following machinery failures

An Ipswich-based tobacco manufacturer has been fined £32,000 after failing to put measures in place to prevent access to the rotating blades of a ribbon blade mixer.

Company fined £360k after trapped worker loses life

A manufacturing company in Hull has been fined after one of its employees was crushed to death at a factory.

Company fined after worker crushed to death

A company in Kent has been fined £175,000 following the death of an employee.

Horticulture company fined after lorry driver suffers life changing injuries

A horticulture company has been fined £3,000 after a lorry driver suffered third degree burns on his body while making a delivery to a site in Essex.

Director jailed for failing to protect workers from asbestos exposure

A company director has been jailed for eight months after failing to protect workers from exposure to asbestos at a student development project in Winchester.

Company fined after worker fractures skull

A solar panel installation company has been fined after a worker fell and sustained life-changing injuries.

Metal processing firm fined after man suffers life changing injuries

A metal processing company has been fined £12,000 after an employee sustained life changing injuries at a premises in Oldbury, West Midlands.

Engineering firm fined following worker’s death

An engineering and services company has been fined following the death of a worker.

Bakery company fined £400k after employee has left leg amputated

A food manufacturing company on the Wirral has been fined £400,000 after one of its employees had to have her leg amputated.

Company fined after employee crushed to death

A company in Hertfordshire has been fined after an employee was crushed to death.

Health board fined following death of patients

Lothian Health Board has been fined £220,000 for safety breaches, following the death of two vulnerable patients.

Company fined as worker suffers serious burns

A company has been fined after a worker sustained serious burns to their body.

Pork pie maker fined £800k after two workers lose fingers

A company that specialises in making pork pies has been fined £800,000 after two young workers lost fingers in incidents at two different Nottingham bakeries.

Insights from the 2024 Health, Safety & Environmental Remuneration Report

SHP hears from the HSE Recruitment Network, which recently published The 2024 HSE Remuneration Report, and with it answers common salary queries.

‘All roads lead to the client’: IOSH Aviation and Aerospace Conference

Health and safety professionals from airports, carriers and maintenance firms came together for the event near London Heathrow Airport last month. SHP’s Rhianna Sexton reports from the event.

Construction firm fined after worker dies from fall

A construction company in Kent has been fined after a sub-contractor fell and died from his injuries.

Pizza maker fined £800k after two workers caught up in machinery

One of the nation’s largest producers of supermarket pizzas has been fined £800,000 after two workers suffered serious injuries at its factory in Bolton.

HSE extends RBI deadline for building control profession

Philip White, Director of Building Safety for HSE, outlined the extension in a letter to the building control industry in England last week.

HSE acknowledge issue of ill-fitting PPE as regulator engage with SHP

SHP’s Inclusive PPE campaign took a significant step forward as Karl Simons OBE opened communication with the UK health and safety regulator.

Company fined after delivery driver suffers brain injury

A company has been fined £380,000 after a delivery driver fell and suffered a traumatic brain injury while working at its site in Walsall.

Work at height charity launches ‘No Falls Week’

Taking place between 13 and 17 May 2024, and organised by the No Falls Foundation, No Falls Week’s aims to raise awareness about the importance of safe working at height and to prevent falls.

Company and director sentenced after employee crushed to death

A company and its director have been sentenced following the death of an employee.

Metal recycling company fined after employee’s arm severed

A scrap metal recycling company in Essex has been fined £200,000 after an employee’s arm was severed when it became entangled in a catalytic converter sampling machine.

INEOS fined £400k after employee seriously injured

INEOS has been fined £400,000 after an employee was seriously injured while carrying out a routine task at its chemicals site in Grangemouth, Scotland.

Manufacturing company fined after worker fatally crushed

A manufacturing company has been fined £120,000 after a worker was killed after becoming trapped between two heavy steel beams.

Unregistered plumber handed suspended prison sentence

An unregistered plumber has received a suspended prison sentence after he carried out illegal gas work at a house in Peterborough.

Recycling firm fined after man killed by shovel loader

A recycling company in Wales has been fined £300,000 after a man was killed by a shovel loader.

Care home fined following death of vulnerable resident

A care home operator has been fined £400,000 for safety breaches, following the death of a vulnerable resident at a care home in Scotland.

Farmer fined after friends had to climb tree to escape cow attack

A woman and her friend had to climb up a tree to escape an attack by more than a dozen cows on a public right of way in North Yorkshire.

Building Safety Regulator launches campaign for residents of high-rise buildings

The new Building Safety Regulator is asking all those living in tall buildings in England to be aware of how new Building Safety laws affect them.

Recycling company fined after worker injured by 300kg batteries

A recycling company in West Yorkshire has been fined £120,000 after batteries weighing at least 300kg fell onto an employee and severely injured him.

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.

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