Health and safety advice – who to contact

Who do you need to contact and wher can you get the best advice from on Health and Safety issues.

Who do you need to contact and where can you get the best advice from on managing Health and Safety issues? Where to find out what you must do For more information about health and safety and to speak to an advisor, call the Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE) information line on 08701 545500. Depending on what your business does, most new businesses will register with the HSE or the local authority. If your business is run from the following premises you must register with the local HSE office:

  • manufacturing premises
  • farm
  • building site
  • local authority premises
  • universities and colleges
  • hospitals nursing homes
  • railways and airports
  • mines and quarries
  • electricity, water or gas network

You must also register with your local HSE office if the nature of your work fits into one of the following categories:

  • construction work
  • electricity, water or gas network
  • agricultural or fishery operations
  • motor vehicle or TV repair
  • services such as dry cleaning

However, if you conduct your business from one of the following premises, you must register with your local authority:

  • offices
  • shops
  • wholesale warehouses
  • hotels
  • residential homes
  • saunas or solariums
  • coin operated launderettes
  • garden centres
  • theatres, art galleries and museums

You must also register your business with the local authority if the nature of your work fits into the following categories:

  • catering
  • car tyre or exhaust fitters
  • cosmetic or beautician services
  • tattooists or acupuncturists
  • leisure activities 
  •  pre-school child care (except in domestic premises)

What help you can get to do it Once you have registered, the HSE or local authority will contact you. A health and safety inspector will then arrange a date to inspect your premises in order to check that they are suitable and that you are managing health and safety regulations. The inspector will look at your workplace, your work activities and how you manage your health and safety issues to make sure your business complies with health and safety laws. He/she may also talk to employees and their representatives, take photographs and samples, serve improvement notices and take action if there is a risk to health and safety which needs to be dealt with immediately. Alternatively, a workplace contact officer (WCO) might visit you from the HSE, instead of an inspector, to discuss how you are managing health and safety issues. Their role is to provide you with advice, direct you to information sources and gather information about your business. On an everyday basis, the HSE advises employers to involve employees in identifying and managing health and safety risks and finding solutions, as they are likely to know where the challenges lie. You should however seek outside help if your employees lack either the time or skills to solve a particular problem. Many health and safety issues simply require an understanding of current best practice and an ability to judge and solve problems, rather than any particular qualification. If outside help is sought, it is therefore often best to ask employees to work with the external company. However, if it is a long-term problem it is often worthwhile investing in developing the skills of an employee. The best way to find trusted and competent outside help for a particular problem is to talk to business contacts, ask your trade association or contact your local HSE or Chamber of Commerce.


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  1. The content of this page is out of date. The requirement to register was removed in April 2009. The Health and Safety Executive’s information line 08701 545500 no longer exists.