Aim of bulletin: Safety alerts are for major faults that would result in a serious or fatal injury and where immediate remedial action is required.
Safety alerts are issued when there is a specific safety issue that without immediate action being taken could result in a serious or fatal injury. When dangerous equipment, processes, procedures or substances are identified during or after an investigation or as the result of a notification from Europe or industry, HSE may need to notify users and other stakeholders of the danger. HSE may also need to notify other users of the steps that need to be taken to rectify the fault or protect people against it; a safety alert is one way of achieving this.
Aim of bulletin: A safety notice is usually issued to facilitate a change in procedure or it requires an action to be undertaken to improve the level of protection or instruction in a potentially dangerous situation. It must be acted upon within a reasonable time, if a time period is not stated. It is not as immediate as a safety alert.
Safety notices are issued where, under certain circumstances, an unsafe situation could arise. For example, where instructions or labelling for use are not clear, additional guarding may be required, operating parameters or procedures need to be changed, where this could, in some cases, lead to an injury. Action should be taken although it may not need to be immediate.
When potentially dangerous equipment, process, procedures or substances have been identified, and depending on the probability of the incident reoccurring and the possible severity of the injuries, HSE may want to inform all users and other stakeholders of the situation and the steps that should be taken to rectify the fault via a safety notice. Safety notices will be issued after consultation with stakeholders and may result in industry-led notices being issued at the same time.
During HSE’s normal activities of inspection, investigation and dealing with complaints, we will come across information that needs to be passed on either to a wide audience or to a specific group or sector of industry. HSE will use the most appropriate means to do this and it could be in the form of an information notice or as part of communication via a range of media which will ensure the message is received by those who need to take action.