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All about the HSE

Health and Safety Executive

A United Kingdom based public body that advises on and is responsible for workplace health and safety issues and the enforcement of related regulations and laws. Its key aim is to try to prevent death or injury in the workplace from accidents and to prosecute those employers who flaunt the safety laws.

It is sometimes also referred to as the HSE, and has the power to launch investigations into work related accidents.

The HSE was created in the early 1970ís under the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. At the time there were various safety regulatory bodies most of these were either merged with the new HSE or disbanded.†

The HSE has its own inspectors who are able to enter and inspect work premises to ensure that compliant with current laws and regulations. They do this by gathering information like measurements, photographs and interviewing employees etc. Below is a list of the types of work they carry out:-
  • Investigate the causes of workplace accidents
  • Try to find and predict potential hazards
  • Look into complaints from individual workers or trade unions about safety or welfare issues
  • Prosecute companies that persistently flaunt regulations
  • Attend health and safety employer meetings or safety committee meetings when required
  • Encouraging good practice in the work environment by offering training, advice and guidance.

They have the power to issue prohibition notices which can stop a company from trading immediately. For instance a fast food takeaway can be temporarily closed down if inspectors are concerned about the hygiene there.

HSE inspectors can also issue improvement notices that will require the owners of the business to take certain action before they can start trading again.

Inspectors also have the authority to bring those companies who persistently flaunt the current Health and Safety Executive law to court for prosecution.

Employers are obliged to offer reasonable assistance to HSE inspectors during the course of their work.

Contact details:

Health and Safety Executive
(1G) Redgrave Court
Merton Road
Bootle
Merseyside
L20 7HS
Tel: 0845 345 0055

Web:† www.hse.gov.uk