Health and safety at work

Health and Safety enforcement is split between Brentwood Borough Council and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE)

Brentwood Borough Council deal with

  • Offices,
  • Shops,
  • Warehouses,
  • Hotels and catering,
  • Sport and leisure,
  • Consumer services,
  • Residential care homes and
  • Churches.

The HSE covers

  • Factories,
  • Building sites,
  • Mines and quarries,
  • Farms,
  • Fairgrounds,
  • Railways,
  • Chemical plant
  • Offshore and
  • Nuclear installations.

Works to trees

Don't take risks during tree-work.

The Council would like to remind landowners to ensure that only trained and competent people are used to deal with fallen trees. 

The task of removing damaged or fallen trees becomes more hazardous when working in severe weather so extra care must be taken. Any person using a chainsaw should be properly trained and, if they are not, they should seek help from an appropriately trained and competent professional. 

Brentwood Borough Council asks those undertaking tree work to take the following advice:

  • Anyone using a chainsaw should have received adequate training and be competent in using a chain saw for the type of work they are carrying out
  • Suitable protective equipment should be worn, no matter how small the job, including: safety helmet; hearing protection; eye protection; upper body protection; gloves; leg protection; and chainsaw boots
  • Avoid working alone with a chainsaw
  • Before starting work, operators should check work sites thoroughly to identify potential hazards
  • Operators need to be both physically and mentally fit before using a chainsaw
  • Chainsaws should not be used by anyone under the age of 16
  • Chainsaws expose operators to high levels of noise and hand-arm vibration, which can be controlled by good management and practice
  • Proper maintenance is essential for the safe use of chainsaws.

Further specific information is available on the HSE Website

Getting back to work safely

All remaining closed businesses and venues such as nightclubs and adult entertainment venues are able to reopen.

All capacity limits at sporting, entertainment, or business events have been lifted. 

Hospitality venues such as pubs, restaurants and bars are no longer required to provide table service or follow other social distancing rules.

All businesses should follow the principles set out in the working safely guidance. Whilst the Government is no longer instructing people to work from home if they can, the Government would expect and recommend a gradual return over the summer.

Employers will still have a legal duty to manage risks to those affected by their business. The way to do this is to carry out a health and safety risk assessment, including the risk of COVID-19, and to take reasonable steps to mitigate the risks you identify. Working Safely guidance sets out a range of mitigations employers should consider including:

  • cleaning surfaces that people touch regularly;
  • identifying poorly-ventilated areas in the venue and taking steps to improve air flow;
  • ensuring that staff and customers who are unwell do not attend the workplace or venue;
  • communicating to staff and customers the measures you have put in place.

We encourage organisations in higher risk settings to use the NHS COVID Pass as a condition of entry, in order to reduce the risk of COVID-19. This will especially be the case in large crowded settings where people are likely to be in close proximity to others outside their household. The Government reserves the right to mandate certification in certain venues at a later date if necessary.

To support organisations and individuals in these settings, the NHS COVID Pass will be made available through the NHS App, NHS.UK, or as a letter that can be requested by ringing NHS 119. Visitors will also be able to show text or email confirmation of test results. Organisations should ensure they are in compliance with all legal obligations, including on equalities.

There are some settings where the NHS COVID Pass should not be used as a condition of entry, in order to ensure access for all. This includes essential services and essential retailers which have been able to stay open throughout the pandemic.

Businesses are also encouraged to continue displaying QR codes for customers wishing to check in using the NHS COVID-19 app, or to continue collecting customer contact details to support NHS Test and Trace, however this will no longer be a legal requirement.

Using the NHS COVID-19 app
Using the NHS COVID-19 app helps stop the spread of the virus by informing you that you have been in close contact with someone who has since tested positive for coronavirus, even if you don’t know each other. The app is free and easy to use and doing so can help you protect your loved ones and others.

The app also allows people to report symptoms, order a coronavirus test and check in to venues using a QR code. To help protect yourself and others, download and use the latest version of the NHS COVID-19 app. 

Water safety

If your business has a water system please read the guidance provided on our Legionnaires - re-opening your business safely web page

Information and guidance about swimming pool safety can be found in HSE guidance, Managing Health and Safety in Swimming Pools.

Taxis and minicabs

The Council has provided guidance and information for taxi and minicab drivers and is available on our Taxis and Minicabs web page.

Further guidance and support for employees during coronavirus (COVID-19) is available on the website.

Legionnaires -re-opening your business safely

Many businesses have been closed during the COVID-19 pandemic. During business closure it is important that water systems are maintained to control the growth of legionella bacteria which can lead to Legionnaires Disease and other respiratory issues when contaminated water droplets are inhaled.

Legionella can grow in stagnant water where it is not being regularly used and flushed through. In warmer conditions, where water has been left in pipes, tanks and other storage systems the bacteria grows at a faster rate.

It is a legal requirement under the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 (HSWA) for employers, business owners and landlords to manage the risks of exposure to Legionella.  It is very important that you manage and keep all water systems safe whilst closed or during partial shutdowns for the future health and safety of guests, visitors and staff. The procedures you follow now will have an impact on how soon you can open your facilities without causing harm to health.

If you have not done so already, you should be thinking about this and taking action now. Ideally water systems should have been flushed and maintained throughout, however, some buildings will not have been decommissioned (or partially decommissioned) safely.


  • Determine/clarify who is responsible and who is the “competent person”
  • Where necessary, identify a competent contractor to assist.  It is recommended that you assess a potential contractor to ensure their competence for your water system: The Legionella Control Association can assist in finding competent contractors:
  • Ensure the risk assessment is reviewed and updated to include where water system usage has been reduced or shut down.
  • Document how remaining staff, visitors, etc. will be protected when on site during the lock down and when the business reopens.
  • Identify all additional elements of the water system and how these will be restarted safely, e.g. humidifiers, jet washers, indoor fountains, etc.

National guidelines can be found at: Legionella during Coronavirus

Safer workplace, better business

Are you a small medium sized business?

Do you struggle with understanding and complying with health and safety law?

Help is at hand with the Safer Workplace, Better Business pack!

The Safer Workplace, Better Business (SWBB) pack has been designed and developed by Devon Health and Safety Group who have kindly permitted Brentwood Borough Council to use this document to help local business e.g. cafes, restaurants, takeaways, pubs, bed & breakfast, small hotels, small residential care homes, retailers, offices and other such small/medium enterprises and to comply with their legal duties

Health and Safety legislation requires all employers, self employed person and controllers of premises to assess all risks posed by their work activities and to introduce suitable control measures to either eliminate or manage the risk. The SWBB pack is designed to help you focus on the risks that really matter in your workplace.

SWBB is based on very similar principles as Safer Food Better Business whereby the document is spilt up into procedures and practices, protection, good practice, records and extra care. The pack has templates and tick box checklists that you can use for your business.

You can adapt the SWBB pack specifically to address the risks posed by your business activities. By using the pack you will be able to demonstrate that risk assessments for your business have been undertaken.

Download the free Safer Workplace, Better Business pack

If you have any queries, please contact Environmental Health on 01277 312500.


Safer Workplace Better Business pack