Complaints about health and safety at work
The law requires businesses to take reasonable steps to make sure that their staff are not exposed to risks to their health and safety. If you are worried that your workplace or someone else's work activity is putting your safety at risk or damaging your health, then you should:
- raise your concerns with that employer or person and try to resolve the issue, and/or
- contact your work/safety representative
If there is no improvement and your safety or health continues to be at risk, you can raise it with the relevant enforcing authority. The responsibility for enforcing health and safety regulations is split between local authorities and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
In general the council is responsible for health and safety enforcement in the following types of businesses:
- Offices, shops, restaurants and canteens
- Retail warehouses
- Leisure activities and places of entertainment (such as sports centres and cinemas)
- Childcare, playgroup and nurseries in non-domestic and non-school premises
- Tyre and exhaust fitters
- Tattooists and therapeutic treatments by non-registered medical practitioners
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) deal with:
- Garages and motor vehicle repair
- Mobile workers (such as gas fitters, electricians and plumbers)
- Construction and building work
- Schools and colleges
- Hospitals and nursing homes
On this page
Make a complaint to the Health and Safety Executive
You can report a problem to the HSE in a number of ways:
- Report your complaint using the HSE website
- Telephone the HSE's complaints and advisory team on 0300 0031647 during office hours
Make a complaint to the local authority
If you wish to make a complaint regarding health and safety matters in local authority enforced premises, complete the online Health and Safety Complaint form.
You can also call the council on 01256 844844.
Please note that the council cannot advise about any private compensation claims that you may consider making against a business.
All complaints are confidential and the aim is to investigate and resolve your complaint in an efficient and thorough manner. A named officer who is competent to investigate health and safety complaints will investigate the complaint on your behalf.
Where the council is not the appropriate enforcing authority, we will refer the complaint on your behalf and contact you to inform you of the actions taken.
Types of health and safety complaints we can deal with
We can only take action following a complaint if:
- It relates to a work activity
- We are the correct enforcing authority for the work
- The issue complained about has caused or has potential to cause significant harm
- The issue being complained about relates to the denial of basic employee welfare facilities
- It appears to involve a significant breach of law, for which we are the enforcing authority
What we do about health and safety complaints
We may ask the employer to investigate your complaint or we may look into it ourselves.
If we visit the premises and judge that relevant health and safety legislation is followed, we cannot legally ask for any improvements at the premises. We may be able to make suggestions for improvement, but the law does not require these.
If you are reporting a workplace health and safety issue, we need to make you aware of the protection that employment law gives you as a 'whistleblower', especially in relation to unfair dismissal and other potential detriments. You can find out more on whistleblowing from GOV.UK website including the importance of the following the correct process.
Disclosing your details
We ask for your name and correct contact details to allow us to follow-up the issue but we will not disclose your name to your employer if you don't want us to. This is one of the questions you will be asked on the online form.
However, depending on the nature and circumstances of the issue it may be possible for your employer to guess that you notified us, particularly if you’ve already raised the matter with them.
Disclosing information you provide
Occasionally, with good reason, we are asked to keep photographs (or other documents) confidential. We will normally do so, but very exceptionally, when we consider it’s necessary to prevent the risk of serious harm, an inspector may need to release the information.
Anonymous health and safety complaints
We cannot investigate your complaint if you have made it anonymously or you have withheld your contact details. This is because:
- We won't be able to substantiate or discuss the information with you
- We cannot be sure that it is not a malicious complaint
We cannot help you get compensation or resolve problems of civil law. The Citizens Advice Bureau can provide further information about your legal rights.
Environmental Health team
If you have an enquiry about environmental health, send a message to the Environmental Health team