Permissioning and licensing


This means we give 'permission' for certain work activities involving significant hazard, risk or public concern, for example where there are risks of:

  • multiple fatalities from a single or linked series of events
  • widespread and significant adverse effects on human health

What is required for a permissioning regime?

A permissioning regime means particular work activities can only start or continue when we give:  

  • our consent
  • a licence
  • a letter of conclusion
  • our acceptance of a safety case or safety report

Safety cases

Safety cases are prepared by operators or owners of offshore oil and gas installations.

Safety reports

Safety reports are prepared by onshore, upper-tier Control of Major Accident Hazards Regulations 2015 (COMAH) establishments. This is to demonstrate that they can control major accident risks effectively. Our permission is required before such work activities can start.


A 'licence' is an authorisation from us to undertake a work activity which would otherwise be unlawful. It is only granted for very specific work activities. 

How do licensing regimes operate?

We operate licensing regimes in certain industry sectors where we provide authorisation for specific work activities, for example:

  • issuing licences for explosives manufacture and storage, and for stripping asbestos
  • granting approvals (usually specifying working methods or equipment), eg for chemical products such as pesticides
  • providing exemptions from legislation where we are satisfied that people's health and safety will not be affected

Further information

Our role as a regulator.

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Updated 2021-11-02