Complaints about HSE

Firstly, check that HSE is the enforcing authority you need to contact.

If you raised a complaint before 12 January 2023 please refer to our previous complaints process on The National Archives website.

This guidance explains what you should do if you want to make a complaint because you’re unhappy with the way that HSE has dealt with you or your situation. It also explains what we expect of you.

You will need to follow a different process if you want to:

If you contact HSE by email, letter or phone call, we aim to reply within 10 working days. If we’re not able to respond completely in this time, we will let you know when you can expect a full response.

When to make a formal complaint

Before you make a formal complaint, contact the person or team dealing with you to discuss your concerns with them. They are often in the best position to understand your concerns and to explain what has happened. Most matters are settled informally this way.

If you’re unable to resolve your concerns informally, you can raise a formal complaint if you feel that:

  • there were unreasonable delays on our part
  • we have not followed our own policies or processes
  • you feel a member of our staff has not acted appropriately

How to make a formal complaint

There are 3 tiers to HSE’s formal complaint process, should you need them:

  • Tier 1: the complaint is handled by the manager of the team you’ve been dealing with
  • Tier 2: your complaint is reviewed by a manager not previously involved
  • Tier 3: the Chief Executive arranges an independent review of your complaint and how it was handled

At the end of each tier, we will tell you how you can take your complaint further if you want to. We may also tell you about another course of action that’s outside of our complaints procedure.

Tier 1

To make a formal complaint, email HSE within 6 months of the action or decision that prompted your complaint.

Email: [email protected]

The manager of the team you have been dealing with will handle your complaint.

We aim to respond within 15 working days.

Tier 2

If you’re not happy with our reply, email HSE within 6 weeks, letting us know which aspects of your complaint you feel have not been addressed.

Email: [email protected]

Your complaint will be reviewed by a manager who has not been previously involved with the complaint.

We aim to respond within 20 working days.

Tier 3

If your complaint is still not resolved, email or write to HSE within 6 weeks.

Email: [email protected]

By post:

Sarah Albon
Chief Executive
Health and Safety Executive
Redgrave Court
Merton Road
L20 7HS

Your complaint will be dealt with by the office of the Chief Executive who will arrange for an independent review of the complaint and how it has been handled.

We aim to respond within 20 working days.

Assessing your complaint

At tiers 2 and 3 of the complaint process, neither our senior managers nor the Office of the Chief Executive will treat your correspondence as a new complaint. They will review your case to make sure we handled your complaint appropriately, proportionately and fairly up to that point. At each tier, they cannot look at any new evidence or aspects of your complaint, if you have not sent these to us before.

If you would like to take it further

If you remain dissatisfied having completed all 3 tiers of the formal complaint process, you can make a complaint to the Office of the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman.

You can find out how to do this on the Office of the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman website

How we deal with unreasonable behaviour

We expect you to behave appropriately and treat our staff with courtesy and consideration as they carry out their work. If you do not act in a reasonable manner it’s likely to make it difficult for us to deal with your complaint or query effectively.

We will always write to tell you:

  • why your behaviour is considered unreasonable
  • what action we are taking
  • whether this action applies across all of HSE or is only for a specific person, team or business area

Examples of unreasonable behaviour

Some examples of behaviour we would consider unreasonable might be where you:

  • contact us repeatedly about the same or similar issues when we have already given you all the information we can
  • make threats against our staff or any third parties allowed to act on our behalf
  • keep using rude or offensive language
  • demand responses in an unreasonable time period
  • refuse to accept that certain issues are not HSE’s responsibility or something we can deal with - for example, in cases where you should contact another regulator
  • make unjustified complaints about staff who are trying to deal with your complaint or query
  • try to get staff dealing with you, or your case, replaced without a good reason

Action we can take

Any action we take will always be reasonable.

Before we take any action, we will tell you that your conduct is a concern to us and why. This will give you the opportunity to change the behaviour.

If you continue to behave in a way which we consider unreasonable, we might:

  • limit your contact to writing only - this might be where you have subjected our staff to abusive or excessive telephone calls
  • limit you to only having one response to multiple lines of communication
  • limit your contact to a specific named person or people or department
  • stop all future communication with you on a defined issue
  • report any threatening or abusive comments to the police

This is not a full list, and we might take other actions depending on your behaviour.

We consider any decision to restrict contact with us very carefully. If we decide we will not respond to any of your future correspondence, we will also explain how you can challenge this decision.

We will record any action we take and will review the action regularly.

Complaints Privacy Notice

Find out how HSE will use your personal information when you make a complaint.

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Updated 2024-04-10