Health and Safety Executive: Wikis


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Health and Safety Executive
Health and Safety Executive logo.jpg
Non-departmental public body
Crown status: Unknown
Legal basis: Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, ss.10-11
Established: 1974
Sponsoring department: Department for Work and Pensions
Current head: Chairman - Judith Hackitt; Chief Executive - Geoffrey Podger

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is a non-departmental public body in the United Kingdom. It is the body responsible for the encouragement, regulation and enforcement of workplace health, safety and welfare, and for research into occupational risks in England and Wales and Scotland. Responsibility in Northern Ireland lies with the Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland. The HSE was created by the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, and has since absorbed earlier regulatory bodies such as the Factory Inspectorate and the Railway Inspectorate though the Railway Inspectorate was transferred to the Office of Rail Regulation in April 2006. The HSE is sponsored by the Department for Work and Pensions. As part of its work HSE investigates industrial accidents, small and large, including major incidents such as the explosion and fire at Buncefield in 2005. Though it formerly reported to the Health and Safety Commission, on 1 April 2008, the two bodies merged.[1][2]



The Executive's duties are to:[3]

  • Assist and encourage persons concerned with matters relevant to the operation of the objectives of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.
  • Make arrangements for and encourage research and publication, training and information in connection with its work.
  • Make arrangements for securing government departments, employers, employees, their respective representative organisations, and other persons are provided with an information and advisory service and are kept informed of, and adequately advised on such matters.
  • Propose regulations.

The Executive is further obliged to keep the Secretary of State informed of its plans and ensure alignment with the policies of the Secretary of State, giving effect to any directions given to it.[4] The Secretary of State can give directions to the Executive.[5]

On 1 April 2006, the Executive ceased to have responsibility for railway safety.[6]

The Executive is responsible for the Employment Medical Advisory Service, which operates as part of its Field Operations Directorate.[7]

Structure and responsibilities

Local authorities are responsible for the enforcement of health and safety legislation in shops, offices, and other parts of the service sector.

Agencies belonging to the HSE include


Explosives Inspectorate

HSE's Explosives Inspectorate enforces the legislation for the classification and transport of explosives. It licenses manufacturing and larger storage sites.

The Health and Safety Laboratory (HSL)

Based in Buxton, Derbyshire, it employs over 350 people including scientists, engineers, psychologists, social scientists, health professionals and technical specialists. The services they provide include:

  • Research and development
  • Specialist advice and consultancy
  • Forensic investigation into the causes of accidents
  • Environmental and biological monitoring
  • Assessment of levels of risk and investigation of their control
  • Establishing realistic requirements for standards, and processes for meeting those standards
  • Validation and certification

Recent initiatives

In October 2006, the HSE launched its Better Backs campaign, using a fictional rock band (Bäackpain) in a series of humorous adverts, to help tackle problems caused by back pain in the UK.

The HSE focuses regulation of health and safety in the following sectors of industry:


  1. ^ Department for Work and Pensions (1 April 2008). "Health and Safety Commission and Health and Safety Executive merge to form a single regulatory body". Retrieved 2008-04-06. 
  2. ^ Legislative Reform (Health and Safety Executive) Order 2008, SI 2008/960
  3. ^ Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, s.11(2)
  4. ^ Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, s.11(3)
  5. ^ Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, s.12
  6. ^ Railways Act 2005, ss.2, 60/ Sch.3 para.3(1)(b)(2); Railways Act 2005 (Commencement No.5) Order 2006, SI 2006/266, art.2(2), Sch.
  7. ^ Health and Safety Executive (2000) The Employment Medical Advisory Service and You, HSE5(rev1) 07/00 C200

External links


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