Health and Safety Executive

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is a UK government agency responsible for the encouragement, regulation and enforcement of workplace health, safety and welfare, and for research into occupational risks in Great Britain. It is a non-departmental public body of the United Kingdom with its headquarters in Bootle, England.[1] In Northern Ireland, these duties lie 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 and Road 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.[2][3]

Health and Safety Executive
Health and Safety Executive logo
Agency overview
Formed1 January 1975
TypeCrown status non-departmental public body
HeadquartersBootle, Merseyside, England
Agency executives
Parent departmentDepartment for Work and Pensions
Key document


The Executive's duties are to:[4]

  • 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 health and safety 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.[5] The Secretary of State can give directions to the Executive.[6]

The Railway Inspectorate was transferred to HSE in 1990. On 1 April 2006, the Executive ceased to have responsibility for railway safety, when the Railway Inspectorate was transferred to the Office of Rail Regulation (now the Office of Rail and Road).[7]

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

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

Health and Safety Executive, Science Division

Based in Buxton, Derbyshire, the Health and Safety Executive Science Division (HSL- Health & Safety Laboratory) employs over 350 people including scientists, engineers, psychologists, social scientists, health professionals, and technical specialists.[8]

It was established in 1921 under the Safety in Mines Research Board to carry out large-scale tests related to mining hazards. Following the formation of the HSE, in 1975 the facilities became a Safety Engineering Laboratory and an Explosion and Flame Research Laboratory, operating as part of the Research Laboratories Service Division of the HSE. In 1995 the HSL was formed, including the Buxton site and laboratories in Sheffield. In 2004 the Sheffield activities moved to Buxton, and the University of Sheffield took over the Sheffield laboratory site.[9]

It now operates as an agency carrying out scientific research and investigations (e.g. on the Buncefield fire) for the HSE, other government agencies and the private sector.[8]

HM Inspectorate of Mines

HM Inspectorate of Mines is responsible for the correct implementation and inspection of safe working procedures within all UK mine workings. It is based in Sheffield, South Yorkshire.[10]

Offshore Safety Division

The Offshore Safety Division (OSD) was established as a division within HSE in April 1991. This was in response to recommendations of the Cullen Inquiry into the Piper Alpha disaster on 6 July 1988. At the time of the disaster, the Department of Energy (DEn) was responsible for both production and offshore safety; this was perceived as entailing a conflict of interests. Dr Tony Barrell, Director of HSE’s Technology and Air Pollution Division was appointed Chief Executive of OSD, having previously been seconded to the DEn to lead the transfer of responsibilities. At the same time, Ministerial oversight was transferred from the DEn to the Department of Employment. The Offshore Safety Act 1992 made the Mineral Workings (Offshore Installations) Act 1971 and its subsidiary Regulations relevant statutory provisions of the Health and Safety at work etc, Act 1974. The OSD’s initial responsibilities included the establishment of the Safety Case Regulations; a thorough review of existing safety legislation and the move towards a goal setting regulatory regime. OSD became part of the HSE’s new Hazardous Installations Directorate in 1999; it became part of the new Energy Division in 2013.

OSHCR (Occupational Safety & Health Consultants Register)

The HSE currently administrates the Occupational Safety & Health Consultants Register (OSHCR), a central register of registered safety consultants within the United Kingdom. The intention of the HSE is to pass responsibility of operating the register to the relevant trade & professional bodies once the register is up and running.[11]


Directors General of the Health and Safety Executive

List of Directors General:[12]

  • January 1975 - December 1983: John Howard Locke CB (b. 26 December 1923, d. 26 September 1998)
  • January 1984 - 30 June 1995: John David Rimington CB (b. 27 June 1935)
  • 3 July 1995 - 30 Sept 2000: Jennifer (Jenny) Helen Bacon CB (b. 16 April 1945)
  • 1 October 2000 - November 2005: Timothy Edward Hanson Walker CB (b. 27 July 1945)
  • November 2005 - 31 March 2008: Geoffrey John Freeman Podger CB (b. 3 August 1952)

The HSE and the Health and Safety Commission merged on 1 April 2008.

Deputy Directors General of the Health and Safety Executive

  • (Lois) Audrey Pittom CB (b. 1918, d. 1990) 1975-78
  • Bryan Hugh Harvey (b. 1914, d. 2004) 1975-76
  • James Carver (b. 1916, d. 2007) 1976-77
  • Eric Williams (b. 1915, d. 1980) 1975-76
  • (Herbert) John Dunster CB (b. 1922, d. 2006) 1976-82
  • Dr Kenneth Playfair Duncan (b. 1924, d. 1999) 1982-84
  • David Charles Thomas Eves CB (b. 1942) 1989-2002
  • Jenny Helen Bacon CB (b. 1945) 1992-95
  • Richard Hillier CB 1996-2001
  • Kate Timms 2001-04
  • (James) Justin McCracken (b. 1955) 2002-08
  • Jonathan Rees 2004-08

The HSE and the Health and Safety Commission merged on 1 April 2008.

Chair and Chief Executive of the Health and Safety Executive


  • Dame Judith Elizabeth Hackitt CBE (b. 1 December 1954) 1 April 2008 - 31 March 2016
  • George Brechin interim chair April 2016
  • Martin Temple CBE 1 May 2016 - date

Chief Executives:

  • Geoffrey John Freeman Podger CB (b. 3 August 1952) 1 April 2008 - 31 August 2013
  • (Denis) Kevin Myers CBE (b. 30 September 1954) Acting Chief Executive 1 September 2013 - 9 November 2014
  • Richard Judge (b. 2 November 1962) 10 November 2014 - date

Heads of OSD

  • Dr Anthony (Tony) Charles Barrell (b.1933) CB, FEng, BSc, D Eng, FIChemE, Eur Ing (Chief Executive), April 1991 - June 1994
  • Roderick Stuart Allison (b.1936), CB, (Chief Executive) July 1994 - 1996
  • Dr Allan Douglas Sefton (b. 1945), 1996 - June 2000
  • T.A.F. Powell, June 2000 - December 2005
  • Ian Whewell, January 2006 - October 2009
  • Steve Walker, October 2009 - March 2013


Some of the criticism of HSE has been that its procedures are inadequate to protect safety. For example, the public enquiry by Lord Gill into the Stockline Plastics factory explosion criticised the HSE for "inadequate appreciation of the risks associated with buried LPG pipework…and a failure properly to carry out check visits".[13] However, most criticism of the HSE is that their regulations are over-broad, suffocating, and part of a nanny state. The Daily Telegraph has claimed that the HSE is part of a "compensation culture," that it is undemocratic and unaccountable,[14] and that its rules are costing jobs.[15]

However, the HSE denies this,[16] saying that much of the criticism is misplaced because it relates to matters outside the HSE's remit. The HSE also responded to criticism by publishing a "Myth of the Month" section on its website between 2007 and 2010, which it described as "exposing the various myths about ‘health and safety’".[17][18] This has become a political issue in the UK. The Lord Young report, published in October 2010, recommended various reforms aiming "to free businesses from unnecessary bureaucratic burdens and the fear of having to pay out unjustified damages claims and legal fees."[19]

Areas of regulation

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


  1. ^ "HSE offices". Health & Safety Executive. Retrieved 7 April 2012.
  2. ^ 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 6 April 2008.
  3. ^ Legislative Reform (Health and Safety Executive) Order 2008, SI 2008/960
  4. ^ Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, s.11(2)
  5. ^ Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, s.11(3)
  6. ^ Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, s.12
  7. ^ 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.
  8. ^ a b "HSL Annual Report and Accounts 2010/2011" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 10 May 2012. Retrieved 19 March 2018.
  9. ^ Archived 13 January 2012 at the Wayback Machine A Century of Science
  10. ^ "Health and safety in mining". Retrieved 19 March 2018.
  11. ^ "About OSHCR on the HSE website". Retrieved 13 August 2014.
  12. ^ "Who's Who". Retrieved 4 March 2016.
  13. ^ "HSE response to Stockline 'too little, too late'". Daily Herald. 30 August 2009. Retrieved 19 December 2010.
  14. ^ "David Cameron declares war on the "nonsense" of the "over-the-top health and safety culture" The Tory Diary". 1 December 2009. Retrieved 13 August 2014.
  15. ^ Political, Deputy (27 August 2010). "Health and safety laws are costing jobs". The Daily Telegraph. London.
  16. ^ Dudman, Jane (30 June 2010). "Dispelling the myths around health and safety". The Guardian. London.
  17. ^ "Busting the health and safety myths". 30 June 2014. Retrieved 13 August 2014.
  18. ^ "HSE and local authorities hit back at 'health and Safety' myths". HSE. 3 July 2007. Archived from the original on 5 June 2011. Retrieved 19 December 2010.
  19. ^ "Common Sense Common Safety: A report by Lord Young of Graffham to the Prime Minister" (PDF). HM Government. p. 9. Archived from the original (PDF) on 20 September 2012.

External links

Castle View School

Castle View School is a comprehensive school for ages 11–16 located on Canvey Island in Essex, England, sited on the old Furtherwick School site in the centre of Canvey town centre. As of 2006, it has some 900 pupils and 200 staff.

Castle View is named after the fact that from the original site in Meppel Avenue, Canvey Island, there was a clear view of the remains of Hadleigh Castle.

Castle View School's current Headteacher is Mr Steve Durkin (appointed in 2016), the Deputy Headteacher is Mr A Sappong.

The Assistant Headteachers are Mrs. K. McKenzie, Mr. D. Boughtwood and the School Business Manager Mr. K. Evans.

On 11 May 2009, the school was closed to pupils for a week due to a suspected outbreak of 'Swine Flu'. However, as only a small amount of suspected cases emerged (along with an even smaller amount of confirmed cases), the school was open for last year pupils to take their GCSE (General Certificates of Secondary Education) examinations. Pupils were noted on the school's website for having dealt with the situation maturely.

Castle View School was moved to a brand new building located on Foksville Road in the centre of Canvey town in January 2012. Until that time, Key Stage 3 pupils were located in a self-contained area at the site of the new building, but screened from the building work which was in its final stages at the end of 2011. Key Stage 4 pupils were located at the Meppel Avenue site until the new building was completed.

Athlete Jessica Judd attended Castle View School; she is a top 800m female athlete.

A small portion of the old Castle View School site, part of the Sheridan pitch, the playground and the "chestnut green" has been used to build a new vocational education centre.The entirety of the old building still stands to this day, with no-one buying what Prospects did not use and has been used for police training.

Contrary to sensationalised news reports in March 2013 the school did not ban triangular shaped flapjacks for health and safety reasons. In a light-hearted response to requests for comments on the reports, the Health and Safety Executive said of the decision "We often come across half-baked decisions taken in the name of health and safety, but this one takes the biscuit." The school converted to academy status on 1 October 2014.

Council for Registered Gas Installers

The Council for Registered Gas Installers (CORGI) operates a voluntary registration scheme for gas installers in the United Kingdom. From 1991 to 2009 registration with CORGI was a legal requirement for gas operatives and businesses throughout the UK, and before April 2010 in Northern Ireland [1] and Guernsey [2].

CORGI registration requires (beside payment of fees) that gas operatives hold a certificate of competence under the Accredited Certification Scheme (ACS) demonstrating an appropriate level of competence and experience in particular types of gas work. The ACS replaced a number of different certification schemes in 1998.

CORGI lost its status as official registration body in England, Scotland and Wales on 1 April 2009 and in Northern Ireland and Guernsey [3] in April 2010, with this role being taken on by the Gas Safe Register, run on behalf of the Health and Safety Executive by Capita Group.

Employment Medical Advisory Service

The Employment Medical Advisory Service is a statutory public service [IN Great Britain]] operated as part of the Field Operations Directorate of the Health and Safety Executive.

Gas Safe Register

Gas Safe Register is the official gas registration body for the United Kingdom, Isle of Man and Guernsey, appointed by the relevant Health and Safety Authority for each area. By law all gas engineers must be on the Gas Safe Register.Gas Safe Register replaced CORGI as the gas registration body in Great Britain and Isle of Man on 1 April 2009 and Northern Ireland and Guernsey on 1 April 2010.The purpose of the Gas Safe Register is to protect the public from unsafe gas work. It does this in two main ways, operation of the Register itself e.g. ensuring that the list of competent and qualified engineers is accurate and up-to-date, inspecting the work of Gas Safe registered engineers and investigating reports of illegal gas work. The second area is to conduct public awareness campaigns to raise awareness of gas safety issues.

Health and Safety Commission

The Health and Safety Commission (HSC) was a United Kingdom non-departmental public body. The HSC was created by the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 (HSWA). It was formally established on 31 July 1974. The Commission consisted of a chairman and between six and nine other people, appointed by the Secretary of State for Employment, latterly the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, after consultation. The first meeting of the HSC took place on 1 October 1974. Its responsibilities covered England and Wales and Scotland. In Northern Ireland, its functions were carried out by the Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland. It merged with the Health and Safety Executive on 1 April 2008.

Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland

The Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland (HSENI) is a Northern Ireland non-departmental public body sponsored by the Department for the Economy. It is responsible for the encouragement, regulation and enforcement of occupational health and safety in Northern Ireland. Its functions are similar to those of the Health and Safety Executive in the rest of the United Kingdom.It was founded as the Health and Safety Agency for Northern Ireland when the provisions of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 were extended to the province in 1978. It was renamed Executive in 1998.The Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland, along with the Health and Safety Executive have both been involved as partners of the Occupational Safety & Health Consultants Register (OSHCR), a consultants register set up by UK government to list registered health and safety consultants for businesses and employers.

Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974

The Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 (c 37) (abbreviated to "HSWA 1974", "HASWA" or "HASAWA") is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom that as of 2011 defines the fundamental structure and authority for the encouragement, regulation and enforcement of workplace health, safety and welfare within the United Kingdom.

The Act defines general duties on employers, employees, contractors, suppliers of goods and substances for use at work, persons in control of work premises, and those who manage and maintain them, and persons in general. The Act enables a broad regime of regulation by government ministers through Statutory Instrument which has, in the years since 1974, generated an extensive system of specific provisions for various industries, disciplines and risks. It established a system of public supervision through the creation of the Health and Safety Commission and Health and Safety Executive, since merged, and bestows extensive enforcement powers, ultimately backed by criminal sanctions extending to unlimited fines and imprisonment for up to two years. Further, the Act provides a critical interface with the law of the European Union on workplace health and safety.

Her Majesty's Railway Inspectorate

Established in 1840, HM Railway Inspectorate (HMRI: Her Majesty's Railway Inspectorate) is the British organisation responsible for overseeing safety on Britain's railways and tramways. Previously a separate non-departmental public body it was, from 1990 to April 2006, part of the Health and Safety Executive, then was transferred to the Office of Rail and Road and finally ceased to exist in May 2009 when it was renamed the Safety Directorate. However, in the Summer of 2015 its name has been re-established as the safety arm of ORR. August 2015 being the 175th anniversary of its founding.

Ionising Radiations Regulations

The Ionising Radiations Regulations (IRR) are statutory instruments which form the main legal requirements for the use and control of ionising radiation in the United Kingdom. There have been several versions of the regulations, the current legislation was introduced in 2017 (IRR17), repealing the 1999 regulations and implementing the 2013/59/Euratom European Union directive.The main aim of the regulations as defined by the 1999 official code of practice was to "establish a framework for ensuring that exposure to ionising radiation arising from work activities, whether man made or natural radiation and from external radiation or internal radiation, is kept as low as reasonably practicable (ALARP) and does not exceed dose limits specified for individuals".

John Fox (statistician)

Anthony John Fox (born 25 April 1946) is a British statistician, who has worked in both the public service and academia.

He was born on 25 April 1946, the son of Fred Frank Fox OBE. He was educated at Dauntsey's School, University College London (BSc) and Imperial College London (PhD). He was a statistician at the Employment Medical Advisory Service, 1970-5 and then the Medical Statistics Division of the Office of Population Censuses and Surveys (OPCS) until 1979. In the latter job, he helped to set up the England and Wales Longitudinal Survey, which monitors the health, address changes and fertility of a 1% sample of the population of England and Wales over time for statistical purposes.

During 1980-8, he was Professor of Social Statistics at City University, building up his department into one of the world's leading centres for social statistics. He returned to OPCS in 1988 as the United Kingdom Chief Medical Statistician. In 1990, he took on the additional post of honorary professor at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

In 1996, following the creation of the Office for National Statistics (ONS) (into which OPCS was incorporated), cuts in the senior Civil Service meant that his responsibilities were widened to include demographic statistics and he became Director of the Census, Population and Health Group there. In 1999, he moved to the Department of Health as Director of Statistics. Due to further cuts in senior statistical posts in the Civil Service, he soon became the most senior government statistician outside the ONS.

In 2004, he became the "Change Manager" responsible for setting up the new English Information Centre for Health and Social Care (since renamed the Health and Social Care Information Centre), which officially came into existence on 1 April 2005. This centre was an NHS special health authority, so he and his staff were part of the NHS. He was the Director of Customer and Stakeholder Engagement. The permanent Chief Executive from July 2005 is Professor Denise Lievesley, formerly director of Statistics at UNESCO.

John has published several books on mortality and health statistics.

Judith Hackitt

Dame Judith Elizabeth Hackitt, , FIChemE, FCGI (born 1 December 1954) is a British engineer and civil servant. A former Chair of the UK Health and Safety Executive, she is currently Chair of manufacturing trade body EEF.

List of occupational safety and health agencies

This is a geographically sorted list of national and subnational government agencies focusing on occupational safety and health. Subnational agencies are indented and listed after the corresponding national agencies.

National Nuclear Laboratory

The National Nuclear Laboratory (informally NNL, formerly Nexia Solutions) is a UK government owned and operated nuclear services technology provider covering the whole of the nuclear fuel cycle. It is fully customer-funded and operates at six locations in the United Kingdom. Its customers have included the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, Sellafield Ltd, Westinghouse, the Health and Safety Executive, the Ministry of Defence, the UK Atomic Energy Authority, VT Nuclear and British Energy. It also has extensive links with academia, including collaborative agreements on waste immobilisation and disposal with the University of Sheffield and on nuclear materials research with the University of Manchester.

Office for Nuclear Regulation

The Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) is the safety regulator for the nuclear industry in the United Kingdom. It is an independent statutory corporation whose costs are met by charging fees to the nuclear industry. The ONR reports to the Department for Work and Pensions, although it also works closely with the Department of Energy and Climate Change.

Pesticides Safety Directorate

The Pesticides Safety Directorate was an agency of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra). It was based in York, England, with about 200 scientific, policy and support staff and was responsible for the authorisation of plant protection products and, from 2005, detergents, in the United Kingdom.

In April 2008, it joined the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), and in April 2009, became part of a newly formed Chemicals Regulation Directorate (CRD) at the HSE.

Safety-critical system

A safety-critical system or life-critical system is a system whose failure or malfunction may result in one (or more) of the following outcomes:

death or serious injury to people

loss or severe damage to equipment/property

environmental harmA safety-related system (or sometimes safety-involved system) comprises everything (hardware, software, and human aspects) needed to perform one or more safety functions, in which failure would cause a significant increase in the safety risk for the people and/or environment involved. Safety-related systems are those that do not have full responsibility for controlling hazards such as loss of life, severe injury or severe environmental damage. The malfunction of a safety-involved system would only be that hazardous in conjunction with the failure of other systems or human error. Some safety organizations provide guidance on safety-related systems, for example the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) in the United Kingdom.Risks of this sort are usually managed with the methods and tools of safety engineering. A safety-critical system is designed to lose less than one life per billion (109) hours of operation. Typical design methods include probabilistic risk assessment, a method that combines failure mode and effects analysis (FMEA) with fault tree analysis. Safety-critical systems are increasingly computer-based.

Specialist reporting agency

A specialist reporting agency is an organisation other than the Police Service of Scotland who report alleged crimes to the Procurators Fiscal in Scotland. These include HM Revenue and Customs, Health and Safety Executive, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency and Trading Standards departments of local authorities.

The Smiler

The Smiler is a steel roller coaster located at Alton Towers in Staffordshire, United Kingdom. Manufactured by Gerstlauer, It was the world's first Gerstlauer Infinity Coaster and it features 14 inversions and holds the world record for most inversions on a roller coaster. The Smiler has suffered a series of setbacks and ride incidents, including a malfunction at a press preview event which delayed the official opening date by two months, and in 2015, a major collision that left five riders seriously injured. An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive was initiated, and the ride was closed for the remainder of that season. The ride eventually reopened on 19 March 2016 with revamped safety standards.

Timothy Walker (civil servant)

Timothy Edward Hanson Walker, (born 27 July 1945) is a British retired senior civil servant. He served as Director General of the Immigration and Nationality Directorate from 1995 to 1998, and Director General of the Health and Safety Executive from 2000 to 2005. Then, from 2006 to 2012, he was the Third Church Estates Commissioner, one of the most senior lay people in the Church of England.

England and Wales
Northern Ireland
government and
regulatory bodies
Occupational diseases
and injuries
Occupational hygiene
Agencies and organizations
See also

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