Health and Safety at Work - a summary

Who enforces my business? 

Health and safety enforcement is divided between the Health and Safety Executive and Local Authorities.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) ensures compliance with legislation in the following types of premises: 

  • Factories

  • Building sites

  • Mines and quarries

  • Farms

  • Fairgrounds

  • Railways

  • Chemical plants

  • Offshore and nuclear installations.

 Local Authorities ensure compliance with legislation in the following types of premises:

  • Shops

  • Warehouses

  • Offices

  • Hotels and catering

  • Sports and leisure

  • Consumer services (eg. launderettes, hairdressers, undertakers, shoe repair, tyre and exhaust fitters, residential           care homes and churches.

What our inspectors will do

Inspectors have a range of powers to investigate, seize articles and substances, collect evidence and take action to ensure no one is further injured. 

The Council aims to ensure that work premises are safe for employees and visitors and that accidents are prevented wherever possible.   The Council has a legal duty to enforce the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and related legislation. 

A health and safety inspector has a wide range of powers. These are found in Section 20 of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

We will:

  • Inspect places of work to ensure compliance with health and safety law, in accordance with government priorities  

  • Use educational techniques as well as legal means to achieve compliance  

  • Investigate accidents to employees or others which occur in workplaces  

  • Investigate complaints about health, safety or welfare in work premises  

  • License skin piercing premises  

  • Advise other council departments about health and safety at events held at licensed premises  

  • Work with Planning and Building Control Officers to advise on the health and safety implications of new developments  

  • Give advice to customers and all stakeholders on health and safety issues   

  • Work with other health professionals locally and nationally 

What you can expect

We will:

  • Carry out inspections of workplaces to check compliance in high risk activities

  • Investigate relevant workplace accidents

  • Respond to complaints about health and safety in workplaces

  • Respond to requests for advice or information about health and safety

  • Respond to letters or emails about health and safety issues

  • Keep you fully informed of the progress made with your enquiry or complaint.

What you should do


If you think your employer is exposing you to risks, or is not carrying out his/her legal duties correctly, you should first approach your manager/employer to inform them. If you do not get a satisfactory response, contact us or the Health and Safety Executive, depending on who is the appropriate enforcing authority.

Your Health

If you believe that your work may be affecting your health, you should first discuss your concerns with your manager (or occupational health doctor/nurse where appropriate). Where a specific medical condition has caused problems at work, you should seek advice from your GP.

Members of the public

If you are a member of the public, and you think you have been harmed by a work activity, or have noticed something you consider to be dangerous, you should contact us or the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) as appropriate.  

We need to take as many details as possible, including exact location, names of company or people you have spoken to, etc. We will keep you in touch with what is happening throughout the course of the investigation.