Council services and activities


LAs may be responsible for maintenance work on the highways and in the surrounding environment, where risks can arise from construction or maintenance activities as well as moving traffic.


Some local authorities are responsible for providing schools within their community. HSE's education web pages consider the health and safety of staff and pupils as well as those who carry out maintenance and repairs of school premises.

Waste and recycling

Most local authorities will be involved in providing refuse collection services, waste and recycling management, or provision of public amenity sites. Some of these activities may be contracted out. Workers, and in some cases the public, can be exposed to risks from moving vehicles and plant, working at height around skips, uneven, wet or icy surfaces and manual handling of heavy or awkward items.

Social care

A number of councils are responsible for providing social care services in their community. This might range from social workers paying visits to clients at home to the provision of 24-hour care facilities. Some of the care services are likely to be contracted out. Risks facing workers in this sector are broad and include, amongst other things the manual handling of clients and equipment, lone working and the risk of violence and aggression.

Amenity management and tree work

Local authorities are responsible for maintaining the public built environment and often run parks, play areas, and other outdoor facilities open to the public. Although the overall risk to the public in these environments is considered to be very low, some work activities such as use of ride-on mowers, tree pruning and felling, and application of herbicides can present a risk to those directly involved and requires a robust approach to risk assessment and management . More information about amenity management is available from the HSE agriculture and arboriculture web pages.

Local authorities as social housing landlords

The local authority as landlord should ensure that responsibility for maintenance of the property, services and appliances provided by them are clearly set out as part of the tenancy agreement.

A landlord has statutory duties for the maintenance of domestic gas appliances.

Gas safety

For information on domestic gas safety and landlord duties please see:

Solid fuel appliance safety

Risk from redundant solid fuel back boilers

HSE issued a safety notice about explosion risks from redundant solid fuel boilers on 8th May 2008 for the attention of individual homeowners, tenants, landlords and the plumbing/heating industry. It raised awareness of the potential dangers of lighting a solid fuel fire when a redundant solid fuel back boiler has been left within the fireplace.

Carbon monoxide from solid fuel appliances

Appliances that use fossil fuels should be serviced and maintained by a competent person. The local authority as landlord should ensure that responsibility for maintenance of solid fuel appliances and associated chimneys and flues is clearly agreed with the tenant. Relevant information should be provided for the tenant. Further advice on competent persons' schemes.

Further information about solid fuel appliances:

Social Housing - refurbishment

HSE issued an advisory note on the refurbishment of housing stock likely to contain asbestos on 26 May 2009. The guidance and information is provided to help social housing landlords, including local authorities, housing associations and social housing management companies manage the risks associated with asbestos containing materials.

Social Housing - Scalding risk from hot water heating systems

In May 2008, in response to fatal incidents arising from the catastrophic failure of domestic hot water heating systems HSE issued an alert notice and distributed it with a covering letter to all local authorities in Great Britain. The information was also shared with the Department for Communities and Local Government, which has responsibility for building control, housing and trading standards matters in England, the Scottish Government, and the Welsh Assembly Government. An alert concerning explosion risk from redundant back boilers was distributed at the same time.

Similar letters reflecting administrative differences were sent to LAs in Scotland and Wales.

General domestic safety issues

Details about where to find more information on general domestic safety issues are included our FAQ section:

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Updated 2024-02-09