In our last blog post, we spoke about RIDDOR reporting and how employers must complete one when certain workplace injury occurs. However, if you are an employee with a health and safety concerns, or a family member or friend who is concerned about someone else's safety at work, you can fill out a workplace concerns form online and HSE will use the information provided to assess the concern.
The workplace concerns form consists of 4 different sections (labelled A-D) that require information relating to who is submitting the form and their concern.
- Section A: About You
- Section B: Your concern – listing the concern, how people are likely to be at risk, the length in which you have had the concern and any supporting evidence to name a few
- Section C: Who is doing it and where? Information involving the company or persons carrying out the activity, where it is being carried out, who is in control, the activities carried out and the local authority where this is being carried out
- Section D: Disclosure – any details you submit will not be given out when HSE progress your concern unless you have given them permission
These are forms that can be completed online or if you are unable to do so online, it can be done over the phone with a HSE advisor, or via post. HSE take all health and safety concerns for the workplace seriously, but it is important for those filling in the form to include as much information as possible.
After a concern is raised HSE will:
- Check the concern relates to a work activity where HSE as responsible for enforcing the health and safety legislation
- Seek to establish who is responsible for health and safety at the location; who is at risk of injury or ill health, or has no adequate welfare facilities; what injury or ill health could result and how likely this is; what is needed to comply with health and safety law.
- The information you provided will be assessed and the concern will be place into a category:
Red = serious risk
Amber = significant risk
Green = low risk
If red of amber, HSE will have a concerns officer contact the employer to follow up the concern or alternatively, it may be passed to an inspector for a site visit.
If green, it has been classified as a low risk and will not be followed up by HSE.
If put into the category of other, a decision will be made according to the individual circumstances relating to the claims.
If the concern relates to an industry classed by HSE as a ‘major hazard’ such as offshore, nuclear or a major chemical site, it will be assessed by an inspector and assigned a priority appropriate to the circumstances.
HSE will then contact you with any feedback they may have after they have completed their enquiries.
There are a set of circumstances in which HSE cannot follow up with your concern:
- The information you have provided is no clear enough for them to establish who is responsible for the working environment or activity where there is a concern
- Contact details were not provided and they therefore cannot contact you to substantiate and discuss the concern and reasoning behind it
- The issue has not been previously raised with the employer, person responsible for the site the concern relates to or the relative trade union (unless you have good reason to believe that this would put you in a difficult and vulnerable position)
- The health and safety law does not require significantly higher standard
- It is impracticable and unrelated to HSE to follow up on your concern
There is the option to appeal the decision from HSE if you have been told that they will not follow up the concern if it has been assessed as low 'green' risk but you feel as though that is an incorrect classification, or if they have completed their follow-up and you are dissatisfied with the outcome. The appeals process involves emails HSE within 10 days of their response with your reference number, reasons for appealing and any information to be taken into account when your appeal is reviewed.
It is possible to complete the workplace concerns form and appeal the decision by phone is you don't have access to the internet or cannot complete the online form.
It is important to remember that HSE can not help you receive any compensation from a concern or accident and it is advised try and resolve any concerns with your employer first before contacting HSE.
Visit the HSE website for more information.
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