The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) are an executive agency of the Government with legal responsibilities for monitoring and supporting health and safety within the United Kingdom and promoting safe working practices and conditions.
They also have significant legal powers! Section 20 of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act (1974) gives guidance to their role and powers in the workplace.
The HSE also produce statistics relating to health and safety performance and undertaken investigations relating to major accidents (including fatalities) and monitor all RIDDOR- reportable incidents
The HSE Inspector has significant powers, including:
• Serve prohibition or improvement notices
• Gain access to your premises (with the full co-operation of the Police Authority)
• Remove or copy any relevant documentation
• Seize, dismantle and test any equipment, tools, products etc as part of their investigation
And if an Inspector arrives at your site?
• Ask to see his/her warrant card (to prove identity)
• Inform your line manager immediately
• Co-Operate fully, be truthful and remember you are representing your Organisation
• It is important all employees are aware of the HSE and in particular the Powers of HSE Inspectors.
• The purpose of the visit may not be negative – the HSE are a supporting body, so be considerate and co-operative at all times during the visit.
• Do not obstruct a HSE Inspector as this is an offence in itself.
• If you are interviewed as part of their visit or investigation, remember to be 100% truthful, but also remember that you entitled to have a representative present to validate your comments made during the interview.
The HSE website can be accessed via:
The website provides access for anyone to key safety information, legal guidance etc