Health and safety at work

By law employers must review equipment, premises and systems of work to identify hazards and reduce the risks to clients, employees and the self-employed. Your employer has a duty under the law to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, your health, safety and welfare at work.

Health and safety inspectors can give advice on how to comply with the law. They also have powers to enforce it.

We enforce health and safety legislation within our area for the following workplaces:

  • Catering, restaurants and pubs
  • Consumer Services
  • Hotels, camps, caravan sites and short stay accommodation
  • Leisure and cultural
  • Offices
  • Common parts
  • Churches and their graveyards
  • Residential care (but not nursing homes)
  • Retail shops, petrol stations
  • Wholesale shops
  • Warehouses

There are exceptions to these categories including all council premises or where the main site activity is enforced by the Health and Safety Executive ie schools.

Our Commercial and Licensing Teams carry out regulatory functions in all businesses for which we have enforcement powers. This might include projects as well as carrying out investigations into complaints or accidents. We will always:

  • Explain clearly what needs to be done, why and by when and normally confirm the details in writing.
  • Give the person(s) responsible the opportunity to resolve and discuss the issues before formal action is taken, unless there is any immediate danger or we believe that prompt formal action is the most appropriate approach.
  • Explain in writing where immediate action must be taken.
  • Explain any rights of appeal when formal action is taken.

Normally we will tell the company or individual at the time of the visit if anything needs to be done. If you indicate you agree with our decisions or requirements and we think no immediate formal action is needed, then we will write to the person(s) responsible to let you/them know what must be done, how and by when. Formal action will be taken if people are at risk, or have not acted on previous advice.

Our Environmental Health & Licensing Enforcement Policy aims to ensure the health, safety, welfare and employment protection duties contained in the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and the relevant statutory provisions made under it, together with a range of other legislation enforced by the Environmental Health and Licensing Service, are being followed as far as is reasonably necessary. 

We will use our enforcement powers to protect persons at work, the self-employed and anyone who is affected by work activities. Where other enforcement agencies have a role, we will liaise with them.

Officers will ensure enforcement decisions are consistent, balanced, fair, proportionate, transparent and relate to common standards that ensure they adequately protect the persons involved. In coming to any decision officers shall consider relevant criteria, eg seriousness of the offence, history, confidence in management, consequences of failure to comply and the likely effectiveness of various enforcement options.

HSE provides guidance for managing stress at work, including information about a stress risk assessment. Other resources include HSE’s Stress Talking toolkit, which can help structure conversations between managers and workers to help prevent stress at work.

Surrey Fire and Rescue Service enforces the law on matters relating to fire safety within Surrey. They also work in partnership with businesses, charities and organisations on a local and national basis to inform them about measures they can take to improve their fire safety.

If you think there is a health and safety problem in your workplace you should first discuss it with your employer, supervisor or manager. You may also wish to discuss it with your safety representative, if there is one.

If you think your employer is exposing you to risks or is not carrying out their legal duties and you have pointed this out without getting a satisfactory answer or think it requires immediate action you can contact us.