Health and Safety at Work
Health and Safety officers within the Council's Environmental
Commercial Services section have a responsibility for ensuring that
health and safety law is complied with:
- Enforcement of the Health and Safety at work etc. Act 1974 and
associated regulations to ensure high standards of health and
safety at work to protect both employees and the public
- Types of premises inspected by local authority governed by the
Health & Safety (Enforcing Authority) Regulations 1998, e.g.
offices, shops, swimming pools, residential homes, skin piercing
establishments, hairdressers, fitness centre, tyre & exhaust
centres, churches etc.
The Health & Safety Executive (HSE)
are responsible for enforcement of more complex industrial premises
including manufacturers, motor repairers, nursing homes etc.
- The main areas of activity are the routine inspection of
workplaces and the investigation of work related accidents,
complaints and enquiries.
- Officers have the right to enter any workplace and inspect it,
look at the work activities and management systems, checking
whether there is compliance. Officers may also take samples,
photographs and evidence to help in determining the level of
compliance and the action to be taken.
- The individual officer decides the appropriate course of
action, this may be guidance or advice, which can be verbal or
confirmed in writing.
- Where the breach is more serious an Improvement Notice may be
served telling the duty holder to do something to comply with the
law. This notice has to say what needs to be done, why and by
- If the Officer is of the opinion that there is serious risk of
personal injury, a Prohibition Notice is served which immediately
stops the activity, only allowing it to resume once remedial action
has been taken.
- In some cases the Officer may also consider it necessary to
initiate a prosecution and the legislation gives the courts
considerable scope for punishing offenders and deterring
The Commercial Services team provides information to employers
or employees on all aspects of health and safety at work.
The basis of British health
and safety law is the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. The
Act sets out the general duties which employers have towards
employees and members of the public, and employees have to
themselves and to each other.
The degree of risk in a particular job or workplace needs to be
balanced against the time, trouble, cost and physical difficulty of
taking measures to avoid or reduce the risk, in other words the
principle of 'so far as is reasonably practicable'
The law requires good management and common sense looking at the
hazards, assessing the risks and taking sensible measures to
Various regulations such as The Management of Health and Safety
at Work Regulations 1999, The Workplace (Health, Safety and
Welfare) Regulations 1992, The Manual Handling Operations
Regulations 1992 and The Health and Safety (Display Screen
Equipment) Regulations 1992 generally make more explicit what
employers are required to do to manage health and safety and apply
across the full range of workplaces.
Officers from the Commercial Team carry out routine inspections
of premises in accordance with a priority risk rated programme and
investigate complaints or accident reports taking any necessary
enforcement action. Options available to them include the service
of notices requiring work to be carried out, prohibition of
activities or recommending prosecution.