Health and safety at work
Health and Safety enforcement is a responsibility of both the council and Health and Safety Executive (HSE), depending on the main work activity.
We enforce health and safety in:
- shops and market stalls
- hotels, restaurants, catering
- pubs and clubs
- sport and leisure facilities
- nurseries and playgroups
- cinemas, theatres, museums, art galleries
- consumer services
- beauty salons, spas, hairdressers, tattooing, body piercing establishments
- residential care homes
- tyre and exhaust fitters
The HSE enforce health and safety in:
- factories, manufacturers, engineering
- hospitals and NHS
- transport and railways
- educational establishments
- local authority premises
- building sites, most construction work, civil engineering
- works in the street
- mines and quarries
- chemical plant
- nuclear installations
Many premises will have a mixture of activities carried out within them, in which case the decision as to who enforces depends on the main activity. If you’re unsure who would deal with your inquiry, you can contact us to discuss the issue.
We have a statutory duty to enforce the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 (HSWA) and associated legislation. The Health and Food Safety Team have a range of responsibilities in relation to premises for which we are the enforcing authority, including:
- investigating complaints and queries regarding workplaces
- investigating serious workplace accidents and fatalities reported to the local authority under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR)
- carrying out risk-based health and safety inspections
- advising and guiding businesses and duty holders on health and safety issues
- carrying out campaigns and initiatives to raise awareness of health and safety issues
- reviewing asbestos notifications
- reviewing statutory lift reports
- the registration of cooling towers and evaporative condensers
Our team don’t deal with:
- fire safety – Essex County Fire and Rescue Service enforce fire safety legislation
- pest control
- premises for which we are not the enforcing authority
All interventions are planned in accordance with the HSE's advice on targeting interventions.
What are our powers?
Environmental Health Officers (EHOs) appointed under section 19 of HSWA have the right of entry to your premises as well as the right to talk to employees and safety representatives, and exercise powers to help them fulfil their role.
If they have reasonable cause to apprehend serious obstruction, they may take a police officer. Officers may take measurements, photographs and require the production of, inspect and take copies of relevant documents.
When considering enforcement, we refer to HSE guides which aim to ensure our decisions are consistent, transparent and proportional:
What happens when an inspector calls?
If an Environmental Health Officer visits your premises, you should ask them to confirm their identity. They all carry identification so you can ask to see this.
The officer will explain the reason for their visit and may ask to go to a certain area of the premises to inspect something. You should cooperate and assist the officer during their visit.
If you have any questions you can ask the officer.
To contact our Health and Food Safety Team, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01277 312500.
To contact HSE, call them on 0300 003 1647 or write to:
Health and Safety Executive
Hedgerows Business Park