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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

Call to action issued over the need for adequate knee protection in the workplace

ToughBuilt is calling for greater awareness of the need for adequate knee protection to safeguard the nation’s workforce.

Construction trader fined after worker injured

A construction trader has been fined following an incident when a worker suffered serious injuries after falling through a fragile roof light of a grain store.

Musculoskeletal disorders (managing risk and the HSE assessment tools)

Join us on Wednesday 27 October to hear from the Health and Safety Executive and partners about musculoskeletal disorders and how you can best manage the risks.

Wood dust in manufacturing industries causing Occupational Lung Disease (OLD), HSE document finds

Visits are being undertaken to wood working premises to reduce the incidence of serious health effects from exposure to wood dust.

School trust fined after putting children’s health at ‘significant risk’

The Spencer Academies Trust has been fined after failing to control the risk to humans from infectious diseases carried by animals.

How does RIDDOR apply to children in education?

SHP discuss the importance of utilising RIDDOR in school environments to prevent dangerous incidents going un-reported.

£25k fine for engineering firm after employee suffered serious injuries

An engineering company was fined after one of its employees, a blacksmith, sustained life-changing injuries whilst welding an industrial steel fabrication.

‘Work-related suicides should be monitored, regulated and prevented,’ SHP meets Prof Sarah Waters 

SHP speaks to Sarah Waters, Professor of French studies at the University of Leeds, who has recently published a report, with Hilda Palmer from Hazards Campaign, looking into 12 suicide cases that occurred between 2015 and 2020 to discover whether they could be attributed to the workplace. 

Company fined after worker paralysed by fall at Watford Football Stadium

A construction firm has been fined after a worker was paralysed after falling 11 metres down a stairwell at a football stadium when the concrete floor he was working on collapsed.

Coronavirus advice for employers

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has confirmed that Step 4 of the Roadmap will proceed as planned on Monday 19 July.

Manufacturing company fined after worker injured by machinery

A kitchen manufacturing company has been sentenced for safety breaches after a worker severely injured a finger in unguarded machinery.

HSE releases annual report and accounts for 2020-2021 

The HSE’s annual report for 2020 to 2021 notes that it has been dealing with the new high risk of the global COVID-19 pandemic since early 2020.

£300,000 fine following leg amputation

A sawmill company has been fined after a worker was crushed by a 1.8 tonne concrete panel.

£70,000 fine after worker loses fingers

A sports nutrition product supplier has been fined after an employee had three fingers of their right hand severed whilst cleaning a screw conveyor.

Construction company fined £570,000 after worker suffered multiple fractures

A construction firm has been sentenced for safety breaches after a worker was struck by a falling load from a mechanical excavator.

SHP Awards

The SHP Awards are now live and open for registration for 2021, celebrating the achievements of the brightest and most passionate health, safety and workplace wellbeing professionals; from young, upcoming rising stars to our most influential ambassadors.

Engineering company fined after worker diagnosed with occupational asthma

Lantern Engineering Ltd has been sentenced for health breaches after workers were exposed to metal working fluid (MWF).

Manufacturer fined after worker suffered life changing injuries

UPVC manufacturer Solarframe Limited has been sentenced for safety breaches after a machine operative was crushed under falling materials.

Construction company fined after three contractors fall

A construction company has been fined following an incident where three contractors fell from height suffering serious injuries.

Recycling company fined £200k for poor health and safety management

A waste and recycling company has been fined after HSE inspectors discovered widespread poor management of health and safety risks at a site.

Diving instructor sentenced after trainee dies during dive

A technical diving instructor has been sentenced after he failed to properly assess the competency of two pupils prior to a deep-water dive in Scotland, which ended in a fatality.

£1million fine following fatal explosion

A chemical company has been fined £1million after a man died in an explosion at a site in Norwich.

Company fined after worker crushed at coal face

A mining company has been fined for safety breaches following a fall of ground.

Good ventilation in the workplace can help reduce the spread of coronavirus, says HSE

As more people return to the workplace, the HSE is stressing the importance of good ventilation to support businesses minimise the risk of coronavirus.

Two companies fined for failing that led to crush injury

Two companies have been fined a total of £100,000 after an employee was crushed by machinery.

New laws on building safety proposed to Parliament

A key element of the proposals is that that certain buildings will require a safety case when they are occupied.

Worker’s arm became trapped in machinery

A rubber processing company has been fined after a worker’s arm was trapped in machinery.

Manufacturer fined after workers are exposed to sulphur dioxide

A food manufacturing company been fined after employees were exposed to sulphur dioxide (SO2) gas, which was released as a result of poor planning and unsafe systems of work during the commissioning and operation of a new potato processing line.

Contractors sentenced after employee breaks back in fall from height

A building contractor and a roofing contractor have been fined after an employee fell five metres from a first-floor extension, breaking several vertebrae in his lower back. 

Manufacturer and site owner fined after employee fatality

A fencing manufacturer and the owner of the yard where the business operates, have been fined following the death of an employee at the site.

Reporting of injuries, diseases and dangerous occurrences 2013 (RIDDOR) – ignore them at your peril

In the recent case of R (HSE) v Paul Adams 2021, there is a salutary reminder of the importance of prompt reporting of serious accidents to the appropriate regulatory authority.

Diving contractor fined for safety breaches

A diving contractor has been fined for breaches of the Diving at Work Regulations 1997, following an investigation by the HSE.

HSE Chair Sarah Newton reflects on her first year at the helm

Sarah Newton says she has a ‘feeling of pride in the people and achievements of the whole organisation,’ as she looks back on her first year as HSE Chair.

Construction firm fined after several workers contracted occupational disease

A construction company has been sentenced for safety breaches after multiple employees were diagnosed with Hand Arm Vibration (HAVS).

Ship building company fined after employee killed by falling steel post

A ship building and repair company has been fined after an employee was fatally injured when struck by a 31-foot steel post.

HSE calls on farmers to make safety a priority after a series of serious incidents

Britain’s workplace regulator says more must be done to improve farm safety after being notified of four fatalities on farms in just over a fortnight.

Construction company fined after worker suffered life changing injuries

Hovington Limited has been sentenced for safety breaches after a worker was struck by a falling piece of plant machinery while working on a construction site.

Construction company fined £50k for repeated health and safety failings

A construction company has been fined following an HSE inspection which identified numerous health and safety failings.

Manufacturing firms fined for inadequate guards on machinery

Two companies that manufacture cardboard items, and a company that manufactures flat-bed die cutting (FBDC) machines have been sentenced after a worker sustained serious injuries to his left hand.

Builder fined for unsafe practice

A builder has been fined after a worker lost a finger whilst cutting timber.

Managing risk: From assessment to control. Bringing your risk assessment to life

As an employer, you’re required by law to protect your employees, and others, from harm. Effective risk management systems allow an organisation, large or small, to meet its legal requirements in protecting workers by not only identifying risk but putting in place measures to ensure adequate risk controls.

Employer sentenced after worker falls 30 feet through skylight

A roofing contractor has received a suspended sentence after an employee fell approximately 30 feet through a glass skylight on a warehouse roof.

Company and director sentenced after children were taken ill during diving lesson

A health and safety inspector has paid tribute to emergency responders who came to the aid of several children who were taken ill during a SCUBA diving training session.

New residential high-rise development plans required to incorporate fire safety considerations as Planning Gateway One comes into force

From 1 August, new planning requirements (Planning Gateway One) came into force on developments involving high-rise residential buildings, with fire safety issues needing to be incorporated into schemes before planning permission is granted.

Engineering company fined after employee scalped

An engineering company has been fined after one of its employees suffered scalping injuries when her hair became entangled in a pillar drill.

Waste management company sentenced after worker was reversed over by a loading shovel

A skip hire and waste management company and its managing director have been sentenced after a worker was seriously injured in a transport incident.

Farming partnership fined after worker suffered multiple factures

W Gibson & Son was sentenced for safety breaches after a self-employed farm worker fell approximately three metres from a 360-excavator vehicle.

Worker burned following contact with power line

A vertical farming, glasshouses and energy company has been sentenced after a worker came into contact with an 11kV overhead power line.

Key changes announced to guidance on Thorough Examinations

Key changes have been announced in the latest update to the materials handling industry official guidance notes on how to comply with the legal obligations for Thorough Examinations.

Roofer and scaffolder sentenced following fatal fall from height

A roofer and a scaffolder have been sentenced following a fatal fall from height at a two-storey terraced house.

Manufacturing firm fined after fatal incident involving forklift truck

A lighting manufacturer has been fined after an employee was fatally injured when the forklift truck he was driving struck an overhead steel beam.

Manufacturer fined after worker’s hand severed in roller press

A manufacturer of thermal and acoustic insulation panels has been fined after a worker’s hand was severed in a roller press.

Safe use of ladders and stepladders

The Ladder Association and the HSE have jointly produced new guidance, which replaces the HSE Guidance Document INDG455 of the same name.

Manufacturing firm fined after repeated failures to maintain machinery safeguards

A food manufacturing company has been sentenced after repeated failures to maintain safety devices on its food processing machinery.

Oil firm fined after worker suffered chemical burns

An oil firm has been sentenced for safety breaches after a worker suffered chemical burns to both arms and one leg.

Construction company fined after worker falls from domestic garage roof

A construction company has been fined for failing to comply with work at height regulations after a worker fell from a garage roof.

Changes to the Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992 (PPER)

The HSE is consulting on changes to the PPER 1992. The consultation launched on 19 July 2021 and will run for four weeks.

Fine after maintenance fitter dies in fall from height

A forging company has been fined after an employee suffered a fatal injury when he fell from height from a mobile tower scaffold.

Croydon tram crash: Passengers accidentally killed, jury concludes

The inquests into deaths of the seven people who were killed in the Croydon tram crash in November 2016 has opened.

Figures show agriculture remains the worst performing industrial sector

HSE has published a report detailing that agriculture has the worst rate of fatal injuries of all the major industrial sectors.

Director prosecuted for failing to comply with Enforcement Notices

A Director has been fined for failing to comply with Enforcement Notices served to protect the health and safety of workers in his workplace.

DWP launches call for evidence into HSE’s approach to asbestos management

The Work and Pensions Committee has launched an inquiry into how the HSE manages the continued presence of asbestos in buildings.

Buildings material manufacturer fined for health and safety failings

A buildings material manufacturer has been sentenced after a worker was diagnosed with HAVS after repeatedly using vibrating tools above the recommended limits; and a second worker sustained electrical burns in a separate incident.

Tool company fined after employee sustains fatal head injuries

A tool company has been fined after an employee was fatally injured while moving heavy machinery.

The role of ventilation in stopping the spread of COVID-19

The HSE has reviewed its ventilation and Air Conditioning guidance, which states that employers must make sure there is an adequate supply of fresh air (ventilation) in enclosed areas of the workplace.

Company and director sentenced after workers exposed to asbestos

A wood working company and its director have been fined after the HSE found a series of failings and risks associated with significant quantities of asbestos-containing materials within the premises.

Juice manufacturing company fined after worker loses fingers

A fruit juice manufacturer has been fined after an employee had three fingers of their right hand severed whilst cleaning a screw conveyor.

Utilities company fined after member of the public died following fall into excavation site

A utilities company has been fined after a member of the public suffered fatal injuries after falling into an excavation on a footpath.

Workplace fatality figures released for 2020/21

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.

Failure to identify vehicle risk resulted in broken leg

A facility services company operating at Winchester prison has been fined following an incident in which a worker suffered a broken leg when he was struck by a forklift truck.

Fine after workers exposed to asbestos

Power Link Machines (UK) Ltd has been sentenced for safety breaches after the HSE was informed the company was using gaskets within its generator sets that contained asbestos.

High school fined after child is fatally injured

A high school in Chelmsford has been fined after a young child died after a locker in a changing room fell on top of him.

Company fined after apprentices suffer chemical burns

Two apprentices were working at Mercedes-Benz of Northampton in Riverside Business Park, cleaning the vehicle ramps in the workshop using a chemical from an unlabelled barrel.

£1.8m fine for British Airways PLC after employee sustained serious crush injuries

British Airways Plc has been fined following a vehicle collision at Terminal 5 of Heathrow Airport.

Reviewing the HSG248 Asbestos Analyst’s Guide (second edition, 2021)

The HSG248 Asbestos Analyst’s Guide was originally published in 20051, and this revision takes into account the Analyst Inspection Programme carried out by the HSE in 2015.2 A report was subsequently produced, with this review underpinning many of the revised changes and seeking to address the issues that were identified.

G4S sentenced after employee attacked at a youth offender training centre

A private security company has been fined after an employee suffered life-changing injuries when he was assaulted by four individuals at a young offender’s training facility in Milton Keynes.

Offshore oil company fined for hydrocarbon release

Offshore oil company Apache has been sentenced after they failed to provide written safety procedures for the depressurisation of an oil well, which led to the release of more than 1000kg of hydrocarbon gas at their Beryl Alpha production installation in the North Sea.

£1.5m fine for NHS Trust following failures to manage environmental risks

Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust (EPUFT) has been fined for failing to manage environmental risks within its mental health inpatient wards.

Two care provider companies fined and a manager cautioned after employee stabbed

A care agency that supports people with mental health issues, its manager and a care home have been fined after an employee was stabbed by one of its residents.

Foundry fined after workers exposed to lead dust

A foundry has been sentenced for safety breaches after workers were exposed to harmful lead dust during the repair and refurbishment of church bells.

BAM Nuttall fined after an employee dies after being run over by a dumper truck

Construction company BAM Nuttall Limited has been fined after an employee was run over by a dumper vehicle.

Workplace noise: how much is too much?

Here we take a look at the different ways that workplace noise affects staff, and what you can do about it. 

Manufacturer fined after employee suffers serious burns

A textiles manufacturer has been fined after a worker was seriously injured when he was covered by hot dye and steam.

Work-related violence and aggression: Don’t accept it. Report it. Prevent it.

In this article Helen Beers from the Health and Safety Executive and Sheena Johnson from the Alliance Manchester Business School at the University of Manchester discuss work-related violence and aggression – the importance of staff reporting incidents to their employers, and of employers understanding the problem and taking action to prevent it.

Unregistered gas engineer sentenced after multiple breaches

A self-employed gas engineer has been sentenced after carrying out illegal gas work and breaching a HSE Prohibition Notice.

School fined after worker injured in fall from ladder

Southend High School for Boys Academy Trust has been sentenced after a worker fell from a ladder.

Manufacturer and director sentenced after worker crushed

A decking manufacturer and a company director have been fined after a delivery driver was crushed by a poorly lifted load.

Worker suffered life changing injuries in forklift truck incident

Kepak Group Limited (formally 2 Sisters Red Meat Limited), has been fined after a worker was seriously injured following a workplace transport incident.

Construction firm director fined after 17-year-old worker fell from height

A construction firm Director has been fined for safety breaches after a young worker fell from a mezzanine floor to the ground below.

Engineering firm fined after worker suffered multiple injuries

An engineering company has been sentenced after a 37-year-old worker became entangled and pulled into a CNC lathe.

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Safety Differently

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