Health and safety

Who enforces health and safety in my workplace?

Health and safety enforcement is split between:

  • Bristol City Council, which covers most service and retail premises within our area and
  • The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) covering larger premises such as factories.

More information about who enforces health and safety.

Who is responsible for health and safety?

  • Most health and safety legislation places the legal duty to comply on the employer (company, partnership or individual).
  • Responsibilities may be delegated to a 'competent person' appointed to give health and safety advice, eg - the first aiders, the fire wardens, the caretaker, but the employer remains legally liable.
  • All employees have a legal duty to co-operate with the employer and not to damage or misuse anything provided for health and safety.
  • Directors, managers, supervisors etc can be prosecuted for health and safety offences if the offence took place with their 'consent or responsibility'.
  • Employers must consult their employees on health and safety matters.
  • The 'competent person' may be the employer himself, a suitably trained employee or a consultant.

What do I need to do?

  • Provide a safe and healthy place of work for your staff, customers, visitors and contractors.
  • Provide and maintain safe equipment and machinery that is suitable for its purpose.
  • Plan work activities so that they are safe and without risks to health, and provide any necessary protective equipment.
  • Provide staff and others with all necessary information, instruction, supervision and training.
  • Assess risks to staff and others from the workplace and work activities and check that all necessary safeguards are in place.
  • Check that contractors use safe systems of work when they are on your premises and give them any information they might need to work safely, for example, asbestos panels on fire doors.
  • Record accidents in your accident book and report them when necessary by phone to the Incident Contact Centre on 0845 300 9923.

More information - Health and Safety Executive (HSE)

What does the health and safety team do?

  • The team seeks to protect people from accident, ill health or injury and property from damage, helping to promote business efficiency.
  • We inspect and licence animal welfare premises in Bristol including zoos, pet shops, riding stables and animal boarding businesses.
  • We ensure that accident notifications received in accordance with the Reporting of Accidents and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR) are investigated in line with our service policies.
  • We promote health and safety in Bristol in accordance with local and national initiatives.
  • We carry out health and safety inspections.
  • We investigate complaints about workplaces.
  • We inspect ships arriving at the Port of Bristol.
  • We inspect and sample imported food.
  • We investigate cases of infectious disease notified across the city.

Our role in investigating accidents and complaints about working conditions (pdf, 88 KB) (opens new window)

Contact details

If you are unsure about who enforces health and safety in your workplace, please contact us.

Tel: 0300 003 1647

Health & Safety Executive Website
Public Health Services
PO Box 595, Brunel House, St George's Road Bristol, BS1 5UY
Tel: 0117 922 2500
Fax: 0117 922 4711

Complaints and comments

If you have a comment or complaint about the service we provide, please use the council's complaints form, which is available from all council offices or by completing the online form.