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Health and safety
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We inspect businesses to make sure they comply with health and safety legislation.
On this page:
When do we inspect?
Our authorised officers have the right to enter and inspect premises at all reasonable hours, this may include visits in the early morning or during the evening. Routine inspections are usually made without prior notice.
How often we inspect depends on the potential risk posed by the business, the previous record of compliance and our confidence in its management systems. High risk premises may expect a visit every 12 months, others less often.
We may also visit after receiving a complaint, as part of an accident investigation or as part of an enforcement initiative/campaign.
What to expect from an inspection
Our officers will show you their ID.
You will get information on health, safety and welfare issues identified during the visit, advice on how to comply with legal requirements and the timescale for compliance.
There will be a clear distinction between what are legal requirements and advice/recommendations.
You will be sent a written summary of actions required. It will give details of the regulations contravened and an indication of the timescale for completion of the work required.
What powers do officers have?
- they can enter a premises at any reasonable time. If they believe the situation may be dangerous, they can enter at any time.
- they can take samples and photographs, they can disable, dismantle or confiscate equipment, and they can inspect and take copies of documents.
- they can write formally requesting that works be done or faults rectified.
- they can serve improvement notices that require works to be done.
- where they consider that activities pose a risk of serious personal injury they may serve a prohibition notice prohibiting activities either immediately or with effect at the end of a stated period of time.
- they can recommend a prosecution
The reporting of injuries, diseases and dangerous occurrences regulations (RIDDOR) requires employers, and anyone else with responsibility for health and safety within a workplace, to report and keep records of:
- work-related deaths
- specified serious injuries
- injuries that result in absence from work for over seven days
- injuries to a person not at work who is taken to hospital for treatment directly from the premises
- cases of diagnosed industrial disease
- near miss accidents
Report an incident
You must report incidents as soon as possible.
The information will be submitted directly to the RIDDOR database and you will receive a copy for your records.
All incidents can be reported online but a telephone service remains for reporting fatal and major injuries only. Call 0845 300 9923 (Monday to Friday 8.30am to 5pm).
Contact us if you think a business is not operating safely so we can investigate it.
We will investigate complaints about:
- offices (except government offices)
- leisure premises
- nurseries and playgroups
- pubs and clubs
- museums (privately owned)
- places of worship
- sheltered accommodation and care homes
Please tell us:
- your name, address and contact details
- the name and address of the workplace or activity you are concerned about
- a description, including who is at risk and why, if the risk is happening now, how long it is likely to go on for, how often it happens and when and where any incident occurred
Report smoking in the workplace
Smoking in any workplace or public place that is enclosed or substantially enclosed is against the law.
If you know of a workplace that is breaking the smoking ban, tell us and we will investigate it.
The HSE’s health and safety made simple gives you all the information you need to comply with the law and manage health and safety in your business.
There are some things businesses need to do:
- decide who will help with your duties
- write a health and safety policy
- manage the risks in your business
- consult your employees
- provide training and information
- provide the right workplace facilities
- make arrangements for first aid, accidents and ill health
- display the health and safety law poster
- get insurance
- keep up to date
Smoking is banned in all workplaces or public places that are enclosed or substantially enclosed.
Smoking tobacco or anything that contains tobacco, or any other substance, including manufactured cigarettes, hand-rolled cigarettes, pipes and cigars, shisha (water pipes) or any substance in a form in which it could be smoked such as herbal and tobacco-free alternatives is not allowed.
Businesses must put measures into place for their premises and their employees to meet these legal duties.
Smoking shelters must comply with the smoke-free regulations and planning, noise pollution, licensing and building control legislation. Smoking (including shisha) is only allowed outside the open air, or where the requirements have been properly met for a structure to be non-substantially enclosed.
The beware asbestos campaign aims to raise awareness of the real and current risks facing today’s trades people. It also seeks to help them work more safely when doing jobs that might disturb asbestos, to help protect them from harm.
There’s a free web app to help trades people easily identify where they could come into contact with asbestos as they go about their day-to-day work. It leads trades people through a list of simple multiple-choice questions about the type of building they are working in, the job that they’re doing, and the type of asbestos containing material they are working on.
We have to inspect certain types of premises to ensure compliance with health and safety legislation. Our aim is to secure the health, safety and welfare of people at work and people who may be affected by work activities.