To provide a common, transparent procedure for HSE operational group staff
to carry out investigations consistently, and enable HSE to efficiently
fulfil its duties under the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.
The procedure covers the handling of all notified incidents by HSE, whether
reportable or not, from
receipt to completion, including investigation where appropriate; it also
applies to the investigation (as opposed to the follow up) of complaints.
HSE’s policy is to conduct investigations in accordance with the
Enforcement Policy Statement.
For further guidance on this, please see paras 30-34 of:
The selection of incidents for investigation will follow publicised selection
criteria. When deciding which incidents to investigate and the level of
resource to be used, account will be taken of the:
- severity and scale of potential or actual harm;
- seriousness of any potential breach of the law;
- duty holder’s known past health and safety performance;
- enforcement priorities;
- practicality of achieving results
- wider relevance of the event, including serious public concern.
Exceptionally, HSE may decide not to investigate where:
- there are no reasonably practicable precautions;
- it is impracticable to follow-up/investigate, or
- there are inadequate resources to follow-up/investigate.
Investigation is a reactive process which includes all
those activities carried out in response to an incident
or a complaint to:
- gather and establish the facts
- identify immediate and
underlying causes and the lessons to be learned
- prevent recurrence
breaches of legislation for which HSE is the enforcing authority
- take appropriate action, including formal enforcement.
An investigation may range from an enquiry by a single inspector about
a minor incident or complaint to a large enquiry involving a team of inspectors.
Line Managers should:
- manage the work of their staff to achieve set objectives
- support and guide their staff as necessary
- apply their knowledge and
skills to fulfil the objectives of investigation and provide appropriate
Line Managers should
- allocate sufficient competent
resources to the investigation process
- ensure investigation
objectives are clear, achievable and understood by the investigator
- ensure investigations are
reviewed appropriately to secure efficient and effective investigation
investigations are planned, carried out and reported on efficiently and effectively
- follow the enforcement decision making procedure
where they identify a requirement for enforcement action
- ensure relevant data is recorded on COIN completely and accurately and meet the performance standards set within the
procedure or agree with the line manager revised performance standards when
Receiving officers using the Incident Contact Centre
- access the ICC website to accept, or reject and
- meet the performance standards set within the
procedure or agree with the line manager revised
performance standards when necessary
An overview of the procedure is provided in the attached flowchart
Line managers should ensure, via normal
management activity, that those involved in operating this procedure carry
out their responsibilities in line with the standards and timescales
described. They should carry out:
- sufficient documented checks to satisfy themselves, and to prove to any
subsequent audits, that the procedure is being operated correctly;
- data quality checks of COIN at provider group level, as required in this procedure.