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Health and Safety at Work

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Overview

We enforce health and safety laws in various kinds of premises including:

  • Shops
  • Offices
  • Warehouses
  • Residential care homes
  • Hotels
  • Pubs and nightclubs
  • Catering
  • Builders’ merchants

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) enforce health and safety laws in premises such as factories, the construction industry, government offices and the transport network.

We enforce health and safety laws through routine inspections. We investigate serious accidents and dangerous incidents, respond to complaints about unsafe practices. We have proactive programmes, such as looking at gas safety in caterers. We prioritise our work depending on the severity of the incident, or the likelihood of a more severe outcome. The type of response to an accident, incident or complaint will vary. These may include telephone calls to the employer, written correspondence, visits, or a combination.

Please press the 'Report a Health and Safety issue' button for the following concerns:

  • An accident/incident
  • A work related illness
  • A dangerous occurrence
  • Asbestos - concerns over unsafe removal
  • Any unsafe practices or unhealthy working conditions

Please note: Confidentiality will be maintained wherever possible. However if you want us to resolve this problem, and we need to take legal action to do it, we may have to disclose your personal details. For example:if we serve a legal notice on the person causing the problem they will have a right to know who made the complaint, if they decided to appeal against the noise abatement notice in court. Similarly, if a case goes to court the customer may be required to give evidence.


Please visit the Health and Safety Executive page for regulations on Health and Safety: A-Z guide to allocation.

Essential Information
  • There is no additional information
Frequently Asked Questions
    • Have you spoken to your employer or safety representative? Many complaints can be resolved in the first instance by speaking with these people.

      Is the premises in Birmingham? If not, you should contact either the HSE or the local council where your workplace is situated.

      If the premises are in Birmingham, then you can report your complaint to us using the form above. Once you have described the situation, the officer may form the opinion that your employer is taking all reasonable steps to minimise the risk. The law does not require risks to be eliminated.

      Our officers may advise you to speak with your employer or safety representative.

      Also, not all complaints will result in an immediate visit from an officer. Officers will use their judgement, and may deem that the matter can be dealt with when the premises are next due to be inspected. Alternatively, they may contact your employer by telephone and/or in writing to try and resolve the matter.

      Whatever actions our officers take, we will notify you of the outcome wherever possible.

    • The Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992 (as amended) do not specify any set maximum weight. Such an approach would be too simple as everybody has different capabilities.

      Instead employers must first try to avoid manual handling. If manual handling cannot be avoided, they must make an assessment of activities involving manual handling. As a result of this employers must put controls in place that minimise the risk of injury. These can include training, splitting the load, team lifts and lifting aids.


    • Under the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992, employers have got to provide suitable and sufficient facilities at readily available locations. They must be adequately lit, ventilated and be kept clean. Toilets can be unisex, but must be lockable.

      The Approved Code of Practice to these Regulations provide more details on numbers. More details on numbers of toilets can be found in Welfare at Work:http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg293.pdf

    • PPE is a last resort. Employers must try to identify other controls before issuing PPE. However, this is not always possible. The Personal Protective Equipment Regulations 1992 require that employers provide suitable PPE. This means that PPE must not only protect you, but it must fit, be relatively comfortable, and you must still be able to do your job whilst wearing it.

      Employers can not charge you for PPE. But, they may ask you to buy the PPE, and reimburse you. Also if you wanted some PPE that exceeded what was suitable (for instance if safety boots were made available, but you wanted to have a different brand), then you could be charged the excess. Employers could deduct the cost of PPE from your salary if employment was terminated, and you kept the PPE without permission.

      Further guidance can be found in the leaflet A short guide to the Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992: http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg174.pdf

    • The law does not prevent lone working, but your employer should have carried out a risk assessment. If that assessment shows that there are no controls that will keep you safe, then they should not ask you to work alone.

      Control measures include training, supervision, mobile telephones and protective equipment.

      Further guidance can be found in the HSE’s leaflet Working Alone: http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg73.pdf

    • All businesses with five or more employees must have a written safety policy. It must contain a statement on your general policy towards safety, and the arrangements you have for putting that policy into place.

      Further guidance can be found in the HSE’s leaflet on writing safety policies: http://www.hse.gov.uk/business/policy-statement.pdf

    • A risk assessment helps you to protect your employees and comply with the law. A risk assessment must be carried out where there are significant risks (for instance work at height, lone working, slips and trips). If the business employs five or more people then the risk assessment must be recorded (It need not be complex: look at what might harm people, who might be harmed, how they might be harmed, what controls are already in place, and what else you could reasonably do to reduce the risk). You also need to regularly review your risk assessments (for example every year, or if something happens that indicates that controls have not worked).

      Further guidance can be found at the HSE’s website:
      Five steps to risk assessment: http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg163.pdf
      The HSE have also produced template risk assessments that might be relevant to your business:http://www.hse.gov.uk/risk/index.htm

    • The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 do not give a specific figure for either a maximum or minimum workplace temperature. It requires that in all indoor workplaces, the temperature is “reasonable”.

      The Approved Code of Practice to the Regulations suggest that the temperature inside workplaces should be at least 16°C, or 13°C if there is severe physical effort.

      In order to deal with extremes of temperature, employers can take simple measures such as;

      • providing break areas,
      • drinking water or hot drinks if cold is the problem,
      • relaxing dress codes,
      • or providing warm clothing.
    • There is a duty to manage asbestos in non-domestic premises. If premises were built before 1999, it may have asbestos inside. In such cases employers must take reasonable steps to identify asbestos. If an employer cannot be certain that a material does not contain asbestos, then they must assume that it does. The employer must make a record of their findings, and make it available to all of those who may come into contact with the asbestos. This includes maintenance people and contractors.

      Once this has been done, the employer must manage the asbestos. This may involve actions from marking it with a sticker and regularly checking it for damage, through to removing it. If an employer wants to have asbestos repaired or removed, they may need to employ a specialist contractor.

      More information can be found in the HSE leaflet A short guide to managing asbestos in premises: http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg223.pdf

    • Officers authorised under the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 have many powers. These include the power to enter premises at any reasonable time. They can also bring anybody with them (including a police officer) who they feel will be able to help them do their job. They can take photographs, and any items or substances If they feel that laws have been broken, and they want to carry out an investigation.

      For more information please see attachments 'what to expect when an inspector calls'.

    • As an employer, you must appoint someone competent to help you meet your health and safety duties. A competent person is someone with the necessary skills, knowledge and experience to manage health and safety.

      You could appoint (one or a combination of):

      • yourself

      • one or more of your workers

      • someone from outside your business

      Many businesses develop in-house competence to manage their health and safety risks and do not need to use health and safety consultants. Other employers, however, may need to purchase additional help.

      Before you approach a consultant, however, have you considered managing your own health and safety? You probably manage many areas of your own business, or employ staff with the experience, qualifications or skills to help you with your business. The HSE provides tools to help you manage health and safety.

      However, if you are not confident of your ability to manage all health and safety in-house; or you need to know that what you are doing is necessary, sensible and proportionate for your business, you may require a consultant. The Occupational Safety and Health Consultants Register (OSHCR) will help you find a consultant with experience in your work. The register enables you to search different categories and provides you with a profile of each consultant, if required.

    • If you haven't been able to find the information that you need then the link below will take you to a form that you can use to ask us further questions.


      Service Specific Enquiry