HSE and waste


HSE is tasked with improving the Health and Safety performance of industry so as to reduce the incidence of work-related accidents and occupational ill-health within industry. This extends not only to employees, but also to members of the public whose health and safety may be affected by a work activity.

These pages explain the structure of HSE and how it is organised to achieve those aims.

HSE's activities include:

  • Advice on health and safety issues to dutyholders, employees and those affected by work activities
  • Investigation of work-related incidents and accidents affecting the health and safety of individuals
  • Enforcement when legal duties have not been discharged by dutyholders

Who does what?

There are many activities that fall outside the HSE's areas of responsibility. Instead, they may be covered by powers held by other national or local government bodies.

Examples would include:

Environmental and Public Nuisance issues

Local Authorities are empowered to deal with a wide range of issues that are not the responsibility of the HSE. Usually these matters (eg odour, noise, vermin infestation) are dealt with by the Local Authority's Environmental Health or Services Department,  or on some cases the Environment Agency (or Scottish Environmental Protection Agency in Scotland).

Planning and permitting

HSE is not responsible for planning permissions for the siting or permitting of waste and recycling facilities. Those aspects are dealt with by Environment Agency (or Scottish Environmental Protection Agency in Scotland) and the local authority in which the activity takes place.

Offices and retail premises

Local authorities deal with health and safety issues within offices, warehouses and retail premises.

HSE Inspectors

HSE has operational inspectors who deal with industry on a daily basis by:

  • On-site inspections (announced and unannounced)
  • Investigation of accidents and complaints
  • Providing guidance, advice and support at visits, or at
    Industry events
  • Enforcement where necessary

Industry sectors

FOD has several different industry sectors. HSE's manufacturing Sector holds a range of responsibilities, including dealing nationally with health and safety concerns within the Waste Management and Recycling industries.
It provides support at the national level for the Waste Management and Recycling industries and for HSE inspectors dealing with:

  • Collection of municipal and industrial waste
  • Waste Reception (eg Civic amenity sites, Bring sites, HWRC, and transfer stations)
  • Sorting and processing
  • Recovery of materials (eg. scrap and metals, WEEE)
  • Biological treatment of organic material (eg composting)
  • Thermal treatment (including incineration and energy recovery)
  • Landfill

Our responsibilities to the waste management and recycling industries

  • Gathering intelligence
  • Supporting policy development and implementation
  • Communicating with industry sector stakeholders, including equipment manufacturers, trade associations, professional associations and trades unions
  • Agreeing industry standards
  • Working with National and European bodies in the development of standards (eg BSI and CEN standards)
  • Publishing guidance in consultation with key stakeholders
  • Monitoring health and safety performance

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Updated 2023-05-02