Health and Safety Executive (HSE)
What does HSE stand for?
The Health and Safety Executive, often referred to as the HSE, is an independent regulator that aims to prevent work-related death, injury and ill-health.
When was HSE formed?
The foundations of the organisation can be dated back to the 1800’s when the HM Factory Inspectorate, Mines Inspectorate and Quarry Inspectorates were formed.
But it was on 1 January 1975 that the Health and Safety Executive was officially established, led by its first Director General, John Lock.
The organisation came into being the year after the publication of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. (In Northern Ireland, these duties lie with the Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland (HSENI).)
What does HSE do?
The organisation acts in the public interest to reduce work-related death and serious injury across Great Britain’s workplaces. It is not the sole regulator, as in many cases local authorities are responsible for breaches of the Health and Safety at Work Act etc 1974.
Since 2014 when the Care Act came into force, the Care Quality Commission has been responsible for undertaking some of the investigatory/regulatory work currently been undertaken by the HSE or the local authorities, when an incident causing harm, injury or death occurs to a person who is receiving care and support.
Commentary from HSE officials is often featured in SHP from its in-court stories, where the regulator is responsible for bringing prosecutions against individuals and companies.
For the latest HSE news stories, including prosecutions, follow SHP’s In Court page here and see a summary of the most recent news stories below.
HSE facts and figures
The HSE produces a number of regular reports and surveys, which contain important statistics and information for the health and safety professional.
According to the HSE’s Annual Report 2017/2018, there were 137 fatal injuries to workers in 2016/17, as well as 1.3 million work-related ill health cases.
It also recorded that there were 0.6 million non-fatal injuries to workers in 2016/17 and 31.2 million working days lost to work-related ill health and non-fatal injuries in the same time period.
HSE regulatory functions versus local authorities
As a regulator, the HSE’s aim is to prevent workplace death, injury or ill health, through using a variety of methods to influence change and help people manage risks at work. These include:
They claim to work collaboratively with other regulators, agencies and government departments to ensure the most appropriate organisation intervenes. They do this by setting arrangements, where laws overlap, to:
- Promote cooperation;
- Minimise duplication;
- Coordinate on joint regulatory activities;
- Share information and intelligence.
They will not intervene if another regulator has specific responsibility for that area.
Local authorities are responsible for regulating health and safety in lower-risk workplaces, such as offices, shops and warehouses.
For more information, visit the HSE’s guide on who is the correct enforcing authority.
Under the Control of Major Hazards Regulations 2015 (COMAH), it also regulates major hazards by working jointly, as a competent authority, with:
- Environment Agency.
- Scottish Environment Protection Agency.
- National Resources Wales.
Offshore major hazard industries (oil and gas) are regulated jointly by us and the Department for Environment and Climate Change.
It supports the work of the Office for Nuclear Regulation, the Office of Road and Rail Regulation and the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency.
It also works closely with the Civil Aviation Authority and Maritime Coastguard Agency.
A complete list of all the regulators we have formal agreements with is available online.
Where is HSE based?
Headquartered in Bootle, near Liverpool, the HSE headquarters address is: Redgrave Court, Merton Road, Bootle, Merseyside, L20 7HS.
There are also several other offices around the country. To find your nearest office or knowledge – centre see this page on the HSE website.
Reporting incidents to HSE
All incidents can be reported using an online form, but a telephone service remains for reporting fatal and major injuries only – call the HSE Incident Contact Centre on 0345 300 9923 (opening hours Monday to Friday 8.30 am to 5 pm).
Latest HSE articles
Tower Hamlets council charged over girl killed by rotting swing
A council has been charged with health and safety breaches over the death of a five-year-old girl in a playground and faces a potential £2 million legal bill.
New HSE chair appointed
The Department for Work and Pensions has appointed Sarah Newton as Chair of the Health and Safety Executive Board.
Coronavirus advice for employers
The Cabinet Office has issued optional badges that can be used to show that the carrier may have difficulties or concerns in maintaining social distancing. On Friday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson postponed planned easing of lockdown restrictions and mandated face coverings in addition settings.
Manufacturer fined after an employee died and another worker seriously injured
A manufacturer has been sentenced for safety breaches following two separate incidents including the death of an employee and series injuries to a second worker. A number of electrical safety failings were also found.
Firm sentenced after employee suffers finger amputations
A paper making company has been fined after a 22-year-old employee had her fingers crushed, leading to the partial amputation of both her middle and index finger on her left hand.
Fine after employee is burnt following explosion
A plumbing and heating company has been fined after an employee suffered serious burns following an explosion at a domestic property.
Costain fined £1.2m after MEWP collapse
Costain has been fined £1.2million after a worker sustained life changing head injuries and a second suffered a leg fracture when their MEWP was struck by a collapsing reinforcement cage during the construction of a road bypass.
HSE urges Blackburn businesses to take five steps to become COVID-secure
The Health and Safety Executive has said it is out and about talking to businesses in Blackburn and the surrounding areas to ensure they are COVID-secure to help tackle the coronavirus outbreak.
Report published into fatal injuries in agriculture, forestry and fishing in Britain
The HSE has issued a report that shows agriculture has the one of the worst rates of worker fatal injury in Great Britain. Last year, 21 people were killed in agriculture, one was a child.
Council fined following fatality after a tree branch struck a moving vehicle
Wirral Borough Council has been fined after a branch from a tree fell and struck the vehicle of a pregnant mother while she was driving, resulting in injuries to the mother and the loss of her prematurely born baby.
Safety breaches lead to fine for automotive firm and occupational health provider
A vehicle sales company and an occupational health & safety consultant have been fined for a breach of HAVS regulations.
Draft Building Safety Bill announced by UK government
Alongside the Fire Safety Bill and fire safety consultation, the Building Safety Bill is said to be bringing the “biggest improvements to building safety in nearly 40 years”. The Draft Bill was announced on 20 July by Robert Jenrick MP, Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government.
10-year-old boy dies on construction site
A child has died after reportedly falling into a hole on a building site in Glasgow.
Illegal gas work left home in dangerous state
A self-employed property maintenance contractor has been sentenced after arranging and being in control of gas work that his contractors were not registered or competent to do, leaving it in a dangerous condition.
HSE releases annual report and accounts 2019 to 2020
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) annual report and accounts summarises HSE’s performance during 2019 to 2020, and other developments in the organisation.
Scaffolding company fined after employee suffers severe injuries in scaffold collapse
JR Scaffold Services Ltd has been fined after an employee fell eight metres to the ground and sustained severe injuries when the cantilever section of a scaffold he was erecting collapsed.
Managing Work Related Road Risk as employees return to work post COVID-19 Lockdown
Dr Jim Golby, Director of Research and Customer Experience at Applied Driving Techniques, highlights the opportunities and benefits for Employers as their staff begin to return to work.
Consultant fined for providing ‘incompetent’ health and safety advice
A self-employed independent health and safety consultant has been fined £1,400 for breach of legislation for giving advice to clients, despite not being properly qualified.
Woman dies after London crane collapses
A woman has died, and four people have been injured after a 20m tower crane collapsed onto a row of houses in Bow, London.
Tile manufacturer fined after employee suffered serious injuries
A tile manufacturing firm has been fined £10,000 after a worker suffered three broken bones in his arm and crush injuries to his forearm when he was drawn into the in-running nip of a conveyor tail drum.
HSE urges businesses to make sure they are COVID-secure
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has called for businesses to follow the government’s 5 steps to being COVID-secure as the lockdown eases and more sectors are set to open their doors.
Download: April 2020 Legislation Update
Coronavirus has become a top priority for employers all over the world. The pandemic event is putting pressure on already stretched employers to do more to keep up to date and protect the health, safety and welfare of their employees. Download this free legislation update to understand all the latest guidelines, laws and regulations. The eBook covers:
- Coronavirus legislation;
- Changes to workplace exposure limits;
- Key cases in recent months;
- Environment and Energy;
- and much more…