to Complain about the Health and Safety Executive
page explains how you can:
to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE);
you can make a complaint to the Parliamentary
Ombudsman if you are not satisfied with the
response from the Health and Safety Executive
to take out a 'judicial review' of a decision made
by the HSE
Other organisations - other than the Health and Safety
Executive - are also involved in inspection, investigations
and prosecutions arising out of health and safety
issues. If you have complaints concerning any one
of the organisations below, please click on the name
of the relevant organisation and this will provide
you with information on how to make a complaint.
Centre for Corporate Accountability can assist you
in making a complaint (or assessing whether a complaint
is appropriate). It is best if you could first e-mail
us with some basic details of your concerns and we
will then get back to you. Click
Here to e-mail us. If you want to speak to us
or contact us by post, click
here for our contact details.
If you would like to see copies of reports (arising
out of complaints against the Health and Safety Executive)
that have been published since 1990 by the Ombudsman,
HSEs Own Complaints Policy
The HSE has a formal complaints policy. It is always
best to go through this channel before considering
making a complaint to the ombudsman. The HSEs
policy states that:
you have contacted us and are unhappy with the way
we have dealt with you, we want to know. We want
to put things right, and we always welcome suggestions
to help us improve our performance."
policy sets out a two-stage process:
the manager of the person who you are dealing
with whose decision or conduct you are concerned
We would suggest that you put your complaint
The HSEs policy states that the manager
certainly investigate your complaint and tell
you what they are going to do about it. Most
complaints are settled in this way, very often
immediately, If this is not the case, we always
aim to respond within ten working days."
you are still not satisfied with the response,
you should write to the
Director General of HSE, setting out your complaint.
He can be contacted by e-mail
or at the address below:
Health and Safety Executive
2 Southwark Bridge
According to HSEs policy he will "see
that your complaint is followed up promptly
you are not satisfied by this response then you should
make a complaint to the Ombudsmen.
Making a complaint to the Ombudsman
The Parliamentary Ombudsman otherwise known
as the Parliamentary Commissioner for Administration
- deals with complaints from members of the public
who say either that:
HSE has denied them information which they say
should have been provided to them according to
the Open Government Code and HSE's own policy.
To see what information the HSE should disclose,
have suffered injustice because of maladministration
by a government department or a public body.
Ombudsman is an "officer of the House of Commons"
not a civil servant and works independently
of the government.
The Ombudsman can investigate any complaints of a
'failure to disclose information' or "maladministration"
against bodies like the HSE. Maladministration can
mean the wrong application of rules, or simply poor
administration. Examples of maladministration include
procedures or failing to follow correct procedures;
telling you about any rights of appeal you have;
bias or prejudice;
advice which is misleading or inadequate;
to answer reasonable questions;
and failure to apologise properly for errors;
in handling your claims;
offering an adequate remedy where one is due;
are some examples of maladministration which have
been investigated by the Ombudsman:
to investigate an injury;
delays during the coarse of an investigation;
to undertake an adequate investigation;
to interview a company director;
to give proper consideration to a prosecution
to respond appropriately to a complainant;
to provide information on the HSEs approach
to a health and safety issue
Parliamentary Ombudsman deals with complaints concerning
the HSE in England, Wales and Scotland.
should be noted that there are certain things that
the ombudsman cannot investigate:
which are about government policy or the content
of legislation. Policy is for the Government to
determine; and legislation is for Parliament.
the decision not to prosecute was an appropriate
one; however they can investigate how the HSE
went about deciding that a prosecution was not
Making the complaint
You have to make your complaint through your Member
If you dont know who your Member of Parliament
is, or how to contact him, click
You should try to do this within 12 months from the
time you became aware of the matters you are complaining
However, the Ombudsman has discretion to investigate
a case even if the 12 months has passed.
You must fill out a special form. You can see this
form by clicking
here which takes you to the Ombudsmans
website or alternatively, you can download
it by clicking here
When you fill out the form, you should include supporting
evidence, such as records of any correspondence with
the body under investigation.
You should ask your MP to forward it to the Parliamentary
What will the Ombudsman do about the complaint?
The Ombudsman will first decide whether or not to
conduct a formal investigation.
If the Ombudsman decides to investigate your complaint,
he will inform your MP.
All contact with the Ombudsman goes through the MP,
so he or she should be able to keep you updated with
the progress of the investigation.
You may be called by the Ombudsman to be interviewed
during the investigation, but only after the decision
to investigate your complaint has been made, so it
is important that all supporting evidence you can
call upon is included in your initial application.
What happens after the investigation?
After investigating your complaint, the Ombudsman
can make one of three findings. He can conclude that
your complaint was wholly justified, partly justified,
or not justified.
If the conclusion is that the complaint was justified,
the Ombudsman can recommend the remedy, or redress,
that he sees fit, based on putting you back in the
position that you would have been prior to the act
of which you have complained.
In practice, this can mean, in some cases, compensation,
and in others an apology. It depends on the facts
of the case in question.
To go to the Parliamentary Ombudsman Website, Click
In February 2002, we shall be putting information
on the website on what circumstances allow you to
take a legal challenge against the HSE. Until then
contact us if you would
like further information.