Health and Safety

Health and Safety Advice and Investigations.

Fire safety

Please contact Surrey County Council's fire and rescue service for any queries relating to fire safety law. For any emergencies, call 999.

For any emergencies, call 999.

Health and safety investigations

We carry out inspections according to the level of risk we think likely at any premises. We are guided by the national code and our accident and incident selection criteria.

During an inspection, we focus on activities that are responsible for the most cases of ill-health or the greatest number of serious accidents. We also investigate complaints concerning poor welfare facilities for employees.

Where we find work conditions do not meet required standards, we will take appropriate action. The type of enforcement action in any case will be determined by our Icon for pdf enforcement policy [233.83KB].

Guidance for businesses (includes COVID-19 re-opening advice & Poster)

Free guidance is available on the Health and Safety Executive's (HSE's) website. Small businesses in particular may find their example risk assessments useful covering workplaces such as offices, local shops, food businesses and warehouses.

If you are a new business visit the getting started section of the HSE site, which provides a useful checklist. There is also a list of frequently asked health and safety questions as well as tips on health and safety made simple.

We can provide basic further advice if we are your enforcing authority (most consumer service industry workplaces such as retail leisure and offices).

CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) Reopening Advice for Businesses & Poster

Businesses are facing an extremely difficult time at the moment. Many businesses remain closed but many are preparing to reopen. This note provides a quick prompt for businesses who are preparing to reopen.

Once you have completed your risk assessment and put appropriate controls in place you may complete and display the workplace poster available to download here Icon for pdf COVID 19 Poster [363.35KB]

Protecting People from Covid-19

Currently, the measures you should take to protect employees and the public include:

·      Protecting workers who should be shielding

·      Working from home where possible

·      Social distancing people in and around workplaces

·      Staggering work shifts

·      Providing additional handwashing facilities

Advice for specific types of business may be found here: Working safely during coronavirus

Risk Assessment

Each employer will need to assess the risks of Coronavirus and determine what control measures are required. After completing their risk assessment staff should be given detailed instruction as to what is required of them. Signage may be required for members of the public. More information on risk assessment can be found here: Managing risks and risk assessment at work

Employee Concerns

If you are not happy with the action taken in your workplace you should first discuss this with your employer. If there are more than 4 employees you can ask to see a copy of their risk assessment.


Legionella is a bug that can cause serious respiratory health problems. It is associated with fine water particles in the air which can be released in sprays or mists. Legionella can grow in stagnating water systems which is why there can be an increased risk in businesses that have been closed for some time. If you did not flush through your hot and cold water systems during lockdown you may need to carry out additional cleaning and disinfection before the building is occupied.

Buildings with spray taps, spas, certain air conditioning units or other potential additional sources of legionella should revise their risk assessments before reopening and seek specialist advice if necessary. More information on legionella can be found here: Legionella risks during the coronavirus outbreak

Keep Up to Date

The guidance on Coronavirus is changing regularly. You should regularly review your risk assessments and stay up to date by visiting the website: Business support

Health and safety - what we do

We enforce health and safety at work regulations throughout the Borough where we are the designated enforcing authority.

We do this at most consumer service industry workplaces such as offices, shops, hotels, restaurants, museums, leisure centres, nurseries, pubs and more where we are the enforcing authority.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is responsible for enforcing health and safety law at most other types of premises including any construction site. If unsure, you can check which enforcing authority on the HSE website.

We carry out our duties through:

  • inspections of high-risk premises
  • advice and guidance
  • responding to complaints and enquiries
  • investigating accidents and following up statutory notifications
  • raising awareness of important issues and promoting compliance with the law.

How do I raise a concern?

The law requires employers and the self-employed to conduct their business to ensure, so far as reasonably practicable, people are not exposed to risks to their health or safety. This includes providing essential welfare facilities for employees.

You can find out what the health and safety law requires by searching the Health and Safety Executive's website. Through the website you can also raise a health and safety concern with the HSE.

If you think an employer is putting your or someone else's safety at risk, you should raise your concerns with that employer or person. If no improvement is made, you can email or call 01932 838383.

What happens after I raise a concern?

After a concern has been raised we will assess the level of risk. Low-risk complaints will not be investigated.

We may ask the employer to investigate your concern or we may look into it ourselves.

We will not investigate complaints in the following circumstances:

  • when you raise a concern anonymously or withhold contact details. This is because we are not able to discuss the information with you or ensure it is not a malicious complaint.
  • when you have not raised the issue with the person responsible for health and safety or your trade union - unless, of course, you have good reason to believe you would be placed in a vulnerable position.
  • when there are no reasonably practicable precautions to deal with the matters that you raised
  • when it is impracticable to pursue your concerns.

We cannot help you get compensation or resolve problems of civil law.

Frequently asked questions

The HSE has produced a list of frequently asked questions for employers and employees, available on their website.

Prosecutions register

Information about individuals or organisations which have been prosecuted for health and safety offences is compiled into annual reports available from the HSE website Prosecutions Report.

For prosecutions in the current financial year, please email

Reporting accidents at work

Certain accidents at work are covered by the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013.

Employers, the self-employed and other people in charge of work premises must report certain types of accidents, ill-health and dangerous occurrences that happen because of work.

You must report:

  • deaths
  • specified major injuries
  • over-seven-day injuries - where an employee or self-employed person is away from work or unable to perform their normal work duties for more than seven consecutive days
  • injuries to members of the public or people not at work where they are taken to hospital
  • some work-related diseases
  • some types of dangerous occurrences.

More detailed information is available on the HSE website.

How soon should I report the incident?

Deaths, specified dangerous occurrences and specified major injuries must be reported immediately.

All other reports must be made online by completing the online form within 15 days of the incident occurring.

Risk management

Risk management involves looking at the risks that arise in a workplace and putting sensible measures in place to control them. By doing this, you can protect yourself, your employees and members of the public.

As an employer, the law requires you to assess and manage safety risks. For most businesses, this is not difficult to do.

If you have five or more employees at your workplace, you are required to have a written record of your risk assessment and a written safety policy.

Need help with a risk assessment?

Have a look at the Health and Safety Executive's Risk assessment & risk management advice web pages.

These example risk assessments show you what a record of risk assessment might look like.

Risk assessments should not be bureaucratic exercises but about practical measures to protect people from harm and injury.