Safety alerts and notices - Frequently asked questions

What is a safety alert?

When dangerous equipment, processes, procedures or substances are identified during or after an investigation or as the result of a notification from Europe, HSE may want to notify users and other stakeholders of the danger and the steps that need to be taken to rectify the fault or protect people against it; a safety alert achieves this. Safety alerts are intended for major faults that would result in an injury and where immediate remedial action is required.

What is a safety notice?

When potentially dangerous equipment, processes, 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. Safety notices will be issued after consultation, when there are faults that could lead to an incident and remedial action should be taken. The scope may  include items such as product labelling and operating instructions.

What is a safety advice?

A safety advice contains general information about equipment, processes, procedures or substances, which will inform users and other stakeholders on how to use the equipment, processes, procedures or substances safely in order to avoid hazardous situations. This may be the result of a concerted research or testing programme.

What do I need to do if I discover dangerous equipment, processes, procedures or substances?

In the first instance, you should always follow the relevant internal procedures of your organisation or if you are not an employee, contact a member of staff at the site, where the discovery was made. If you have any concerns or are unsure whether anything has been remedied in a reasonable timescale considering the severity of the potential danger, then contact HSE via the Contact us page. If you are ever in doubt then contact HSE as soon as possible.

What is the difference between Trading Standards and HSE?

The role of the Trading Standards service is to promote and maintain fair trading, protect customers and enable reputable business to thrive in the UK. This is achieved by enforcing a wide range of consumer legislation and providing advice to businesses in order to help them comply with the law. The HSE mission is to prevent death, injury and ill health in Great Britain's workplaces. Both organisations will raise safety alerts and the alerts from Trading Standards can be accessed following the appropriate link on the 'Useful Links' page.

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