The management of HSE material at HSL


This guidance advises on the requirements for the storage of HSE material at HSL.


The arrangements in this guidance must be followed in all cases where it is proposed to store evidential material at HSL. Such material (physical items, substances, body fluids and digital data, but not documents) may be of any kind obtained in the course of a criminal investigation and which may be relevant to it. The arrangements apply to material taken into possession by HSE or others, eg Local Authorities where the storage has been endorsed by the relevant FOD Enforcement Liaison Officer.

The need to store material at HSL should be given careful consideration. The normal reason will be for HSL to carry out analysis or testing of it. Exceptionally, HSL may act solely as a repository for storage on HSE's behalf, subject to the following conditions that must be met:

On rare occasions, it may be necessary to store materials at a location other than the HSL site owing to its nature or particular storage requirements.

This guidance does not cover:


The specialist or lead investigator responsible for the material, or acting as the HSL technical customer, should follow the normal arrangements for requesting HSL support, and liaise with each other over decision-making. In doing so, they should consider the following issues and take action as indicated below:

Conveyance of material

Retention at HSL


Recovery of associated costs

Follow the guidance in Appendix 1 which addresses cost recovery under FFI and major hazard regimes, and costs of return or disposal.


The purpose of sending material to HSL is to undertake scientific testing and examination to effectively support an investigation, and/or to store the material, for subsequent proceedings. It is important to demonstrate that the material is properly preserved and continuity of evidence is maintained from the point of collection from the investigator to its disposal or return.

Once material has been entered onto the database at HSL, continuity is assured by HSL via and subject to their material tracking procedures (see HSL GP24 procedure and Operational Guidance: Material and evidence management (collection, retention and disposal)).

Early sharing of information about the material with HSL is important in order to make best use of the expertise they have in:

For example, HSL have qualified staff who can organise and oversee contract lift plans to recover overturned or heavy machinery and place items on transporters.

In England and Wales a judicial review application must be made within three months of the grounds to make a claim first arose. There is no specified limit for a judicial review application in Scotland.


No specific organisational requirements.

Further references


CSEAD Corporate Science Unit – for HSE's arrangements with HSL

Legal and Enforcement Team for legal requirements relating to material


Updated 2022-07-18