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Health and safety advice

Duties of employers and employees

Both employers and employees have a number of duties and responsibilities that they must meet to protect themselves and others.

•You are responsible for seeing that your business is run so that risks to health and safety are properly controlled and that proper provision for employees welfare is made;
•It is your duty to protect the health and safety of your employees and other people who might be affected by what you do;
•You are obliged to consult your employees (through safety representatives, if your organisation has any)
•You must display a Health & Safety Law poster which is available from HSE Books
•and you must do whatever is reasonable to achieve this.

Portable appliance testing (PAT)

All businesses are required to regularly test their portable equipment under the following legislation:

The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 puts a duty of care on both the employer and employee to ensure the safety of all persons using the work premises.

The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 states that 'Every employer shall make a suitable and sufficient assessment of:

(a) the risks to the health and safety of his employees to which they are exposed whilst they are at work, and
(b) the risks to the health and safety of persons not in his employment arising out of or in connection with the conduct by him of his undertaking'

The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 states that 'Every employer shall ensure that work equipment is maintained in an efficient state, in efficient working order and in good repair'. The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 states 'As may be necessary to prevent danger, all systems shall be maintained as to prevent, so far as reasonably practicable, such danger'.

If you require information about Portable Applicance Testing, you can visit the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) website.

Fire Certificate

Most work places are covered by fire regulations. If you are an employer you may be required by law to comply with certain legislation.

Further information about fire regulations is available on the Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue website.


•You must take reasonable care for your own and other peoples health and safety at work;
•You must cooperate with your employer
•You must not intentionally or recklessly interfere with or misuse anything provided in the interests of health and safety.


Employers have a duty under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR) to report certain accidents to employees and members of the public together with specified dangerous occurrences and causes of disease.

The following types of accidents need to be reported:

  • Employees incapable of work for more than 3 days as a result of an accident at work
  • Employed or self employed persons killed or suffering a major injury
  • Accidents to members of the public (in connection with work) where they are taken directly to hospital
  • Specified dangerous occurrences (eg collapse of scaffolding, failure of lifts or lifting equipment, electrical short circuit causing a fire)
  • Certain poisonings, infections and industrial disease

Since 1 April 2001 employers, employees and any other person have been able to report all accidents to a national incident centre. This centre will takes details and makes them available to the appropriate enforcing authority either by access to the web site, or notification by fax for immediately notifiable accidents.

How to notify an injury or accident

Notify the accident to the Incident Contact Centre (ICC) direct by one of the following:

RIDDOR documentation is available from the HSE website.


Legionella - advice to employers and landlords

Covid19 Advice –  It is essential that that while many buildings, retail premises, offices and leisure facilities remain shut down due to the pandemic, that water systems within them are still well maintained to prevent future health issues like Legionella outbreaks. People who are recovering from Covid-19 are particularly susceptible to Legionnaires Disease. This could be members of your staff.  It is important ensure all water systems are managed safely at this time. 

Water systems that are not being used and maintained effectively are very likely to have increased levels of bacteria present, including Legionella bacteria. Unless water systems are maintained, the closure of buildings due to COVID19 restrictions may result in the growth of Legionella to a level which may cause illness when buildings are re-opened. Please also note, the warmer summer months will lead to a greater proliferation of Legionella bacteria in water systems that are not being used or maintained. Aerosolized water from systems containing Legionella can cause Legionnaires’ disease. 

Please act now - download, read and follow this guidance and that provided on the Health and Safety Executive’s web pages for Legionella risk assessment. Similar guidance is also available from Public Health England. This will guide you on the simple steps you can take to make sure your water system is safe. The procedures you follow now will have an impact on how soon you can open your facilities safely. 

If you have any queries about this guidance – please contact the Food & Safety Team at publicprotectionwest@wiltshire.gov.uk or on 01225 770411

Legionnaires' Disease is a potentially fatal form of pneumonia caused by the inhalation of small droplets of contaminated water containing Legionella. All man-made hot and cold water systems are likely to provide an environment where Legionella can grow. Where conditions are favourable (i.e. suitable growth temperature range; water droplets (aerosols) produced and dispersed; water stored and/or recirculated; some 'food' for the organism to grow such as rust, sludge, scale, biofilm etc) then the bacteria may multiply thus increasing the risk of exposure.  The organism will colonise both large and small systems so both require risks to be managed effectively.

Any water system, with the right environmental conditions, could be a source for legionella bacteria growth. There is a reasonably foreseeable legionella risk if your water system:

  • has a water temperature between 20–45 °C
  • creates and/or spreads breathable droplets, e.g. aerosol created by a cooling tower, or water outlets
  • stores and/or re-circulates water
  • likely to contain a source of nutrients for the organism to grow, e.g. rust, sludge, scale, organic matter and biofilms

The most common sources of legionella are in man-made water systems including:

  • hot and cold water systems
  • cooling towers and evaporative condensers
  • spa pools

There are also a number of other potential risk systems  that may pose a risk to exposure to legionella, e.g. humidifiers, air washers, emergency showers, indoor ornamental fountains, etc.


If you are an employer, or someone in control of premises (e.g. landlord), you have a legal duty to understand and manage legionella risks. Important  guidance  on what you must do  to manage the risk and comply with the law, including helpful Frequently Asked Questions, is available from the Health and Safety Executives’ webpages.

All systems require a risk assessment but not all systems will require elaborate control measures. A simple risk assessment may show that the risks are low and being properly managed to comply with the law.  If such cases, your assessment may be complete and you may not need to take any further action, but it is important to review your assessment regularly in case anything changes in your system.


Health and safety

Officers in the Health and Safety Section along with colleagues in the Food Safety Section carry out enforcement under the Health and Safety At Work etc Act 1974, and numerous regulations made under this act, within Wiltshire Council’s area. However, enforcement responsibilities are split between us as a Local Authority and the Health and Safety Executive, whose regional office is in Bristol.

Briefly, within all our major towns and the surrounding villages we deal with Health & Safety enforcement for the following types of premises:
•Shops and retailing, including market stalls, coin operated launderettes, and mobile vendors
•Most offices
•Some wholesale and retail warehouses
•Hotels and other residential catering accommodation, including guest houses, residential care homes, hostels, caravan and camping sites
•Catering including restaurants, pubs, cafes and wine bars
•Leisure and entertainment; including night clubs, social clubs, circuses, sports facilities, health clubs, gyms, riding schools, racecourses, pleasure boat hire, motor racing circuits, and museums, theatres and art galleries
•Places of worship and undertakers
•Animal care, including zoos, livery stables and kennels
•Beauty and non-medical therapeutic services; including massage, saunas, solariums, tattooing, skin and body piercing and hairdressing.

Queries regarding any other type of premises should be directed to the Health and Safety Executive.


Every year, hundreds of people are killed, with several hundred thousand suffering from injuries and illness through work related activities. In addition to the personal loss and suffering this can incur, there are huge monetary losses through time off work and material damage, much of which is not covered by insurance.

Under the Health and Safety at Work etc.Act 1974 and associated regulations all employers have a duty to make sure their workplaces are safe for their employees and members of the public. It is the role of Wiltshire Council's Public Protection Service to ensure that employers in Wiltshire comply with their duties.This is done by:

  • Promoting awareness and knowledge through projects and campaigns
  • Working in partnership with the Health and Safety Executive and other organisations
  • Providing advice and information to businesses, employees and members of the public
  • Inspecting workplaces to ensure they are safe and that employers are complying with the law
  • Investigating complaints about unsafe workplaces
  • Investigatingaccidents and dangerous occurrences that have occurred in a workplace

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has developed a range of tools and guidance to help small and medium sized businesses understand health and safety. If you are a small or medium sized business, whether new to health and safety or an experienced or expanding business, when you see the H&S ABC logo you will know that those tools and pieces of guidance have been specifically designed with you in mind.

The advice available will help you understand what you do and don’t need to do to avoid unnecessary paperwork and effort. This free guidance can be found and downloaded from the Health and Safety Executive’s website.


Control of substances hazardous to health (COSHH) regulations

The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSSH) Regulations 2002 require employers to monitor the safe use of chemicals and hazardous substances at work.

It requires them to:

  • Control exposure to hazardous substances to prevent ill health both now and any future cumulative effects they may have
  • Protect both employees and others who might be exposed
  • Compile records of employees using these materials
  • Supply employees with suitable personal protective equipment

For more detailed information, please see the Health and Safety Executive website.

Staff in the Environmental Health Team are always willing to give advice and guidance on how the law relates to your business.


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Last updated: 21 May 2020 | Last reviewed: 21 May 2020