Health, Safety and Welfare at Work

It is our duty to make sure all businesses comply with health and safety legislation and follow sound health and safety practice.

What do we do?

We are responsible for:

  • Inspecting all high-risk premises annually.
  • Providing a written report on inspecting a business before we leave.
  • Investigating health and safety complaints and taking appropriate action within five working days.
  • Investigating all fatal accident notifications on the day we receive them.
  • Carrying out a preliminary investigation of major injury notifications within two working days of receipt.

The Health and Safety Executive is responsible for health and safety inspections of farms, factories, building sites and most public sector employers, whereas we are responsible for inspecting non-industrial private sector businesses.

What you should do

As an employer, there are a number of things you should do to ensure your workplace is a healthy, happy and safe workplace. 

The Safer Workplace, Better Business workbook provides a comprehensive free guide for small businesses in meeting their legal and moral obligations with respect to health and safety within their workplace. 

1. Perform a risk assessment

As an employer, the law requires you to assess and manage health and safety risks. The purpose of risk assessment is to identify significant risks and do something about them. To find out how to assess risk in your business, go to the Health and Safety Executive's website or see our guidance on risk assessment.


2. Report an accident

If an accident does occur and you are an employer, self-employed or in control of work premises, you are required by law to report work-related accidents, diseases and dangerous occurrences.

Reporting certain accidents and ill health at work is a legal requirement. The information enables the enforcing authority to identify where and how risks arise and to investigate serious accidents.

Report an accident at work

Prosecutions register

If businesses have been prosecuted for health and safety breaches details will be published on the Health and Safety Executive Prosecutions page.

3. Ensure your workplace is smokefree

Smoking ban legislation in workplaces and public places came into effect on 1 July 2007, prohibiting smoking in virtually all enclosed buildings. We play a big role in enforcing this legislation.

Find out more on stopping smoking and Smokefree workplaces


4. Comply with food safety legislation

Food safety legislation makes it an offence for anyone to sell or process food for sale which is unsafe.  They also place an obligation on businesses to ensure that their activities are carried out in a hygienic way.

Find out more about food safety


5. Control pests

Apart from the obvious public dislike, associated diseases and the nuisance factor of having pests around us, there are many pieces of legislation that you must adhere to.

We operate a pest control service to deal with pests on both domestic and commercial premises.

Find out more about pest control

6. Dispose business waste responsibly and minimise pollution

You must comply with the law on waste management  in deciding how to dispose of your business waste.

It is generally unlawful to burn waste arising from a business, but there are some exemptions. Further advice should be sought from the Environment Agency.

Dark smoke from open burning (bonfires) on industrial or trade premises is a serious environmental offence and we will usually investigate incidents with a view to formal proceedings against offenders.

Find out more about business waste

7. Reduce the output of noise

The law recognises that some businesses have to make a noise in connection with their lawful operations. Business and trade premises, therefore, are able to defend against an abatement notice by demonstrating that they are employing the "Best Practicable Means" to prevent or minimise noise nuisance.

Find out more about noise nuisances

8. Promote a healthy workforce

Did you know the average cost of employee absence to UK businesses is £598 per employee per year? It's proven that a healthy and motivated workforce can improve the performance of a business.

To find out how to improve the health and well-being of your workforce, see our active workplaces page.

9. Take part in the national Cycle To Work scheme

Cyclescheme is the UK's number one provider of tax-free bikes for the Government's Cycle to Work initiative. It's a brilliant programme where everyone wins - employees make big savings on new bikes, employers get a healthier workforce and save money too!

Cyclescheme has a great track record in helping employers of all sizes to set up and run successful Cycle to Work schemes. Our innovative online system is simple to use, and we have decades of industry experience and a vast supplier network of over 1,400 independent bike shops.

Find out more about Cyclescheme


10. Control hazardous substances

The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) Regulations 2002 were introduced to control exposure to all substances hazardous to health arising from work activities.

Further information and advice specific to your type of business can be found on the  HSE website.

For easy steps to control health risks from chemicals please see the COSHH Essentials Website.


Useful Information:

Further health and safety guidance from Environmental Health

Enforcement Policy and Leaflet