Customer Care Charter


HSENI seeks to promote better management of health and safety at work, through systematic approaches to identifying hazards and assessing and controlling risks.

The Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland (HSENI) was established on 1 April 1999 as an executive non-departmental public body (NDPB).

Sponsored by the Department for the Economy (DfE), HSENI is a Crown body whose staff are civil servants.

HSENI is the lead body responsible for the promotion and enforcement of health and safety at work standards in Northern Ireland.

Our aim is to ensure that Northern Ireland is a place where the sensible control of work related risk is the norm and work-related deaths, injuries and ill health are the exception. To achieve this, we work in partnership with employers, trade unions, employees and others.

As an organisation we are fully committed to providing a frst class service to our customers in line with the principles of Service First. Therefore, I hope you will find our Customer Care Charter informative about what our role is, how we carry out our work and the standards of service you can expect to receive from us.

Also included is a section on advising you what steps to take if you feel HSENI has failed to meet expected standards or has let you down in any way. I’d welcome comments on the quality of our service and your suggestions on how our service might be improved.

Robert Kidd (Chief Executive)

Who does what

While HSENI is the enforcing authority for health and safety in most areas of employment and is also responsible for investigating gas safety incidents in the home, there are exceptions. District Councils are also enforcing authorities for health and safety at work. The division of enforcement responsibilities between HSENI and the District Councils is as follows:

HSENI is responsible for:

  • Factories
  • Building Sites
  • Farms
  • Motor Vehicle Repairs
  • Mines and Quarries
  • Major Hazard Sites (COMAH establishments)
  • Natural Gas Transmission, distribution and use
  • Liquid Petroleum Gas storage and use (*dependent on enforcement responsibility for the premises)
  • Transport of Dangerous Goods
  • Schools and Universities
  • Leisure and entertainment facilities (owned by District Councils)
  • Fairgrounds
  • Hospitals and Nursing Homes
  • District Councils
  • Fire and Police
  • Government departments
  • Railways
  • Any other workplaces not listed under District Councils below.

District Councils are responsible for:

  • Offices
  • Retail and Wholesale shops
  • Tyre and Exhaust Fitters
  • Restaurants, take-away food shops, mobile snack bars and catering services
  • Hotels, Guest Houses, Residential Homes, etc
  • Wholesale and retail warehouses
  • Leisure and entertainment facilities (privately owned)
  • Exhibitions
  • Religious activities
  • Undertakers
  • The practice or presentation of the Arts, Sports, Games, Entertainment or other cultural or recreational activities
  • Therapeutic and beauty services
  • Animal care
  • Use of Natural Gas  (*dependent on enforcement responsibility for the premises)
  • Liquid Petroleum Gas storage and use (*dependent on enforcement responsibility for the premises)

If you have a query about an area of employment for which District Councils are responsible you should contact the Environmental Health Department of your local District Council whose address and telephone number can be found in the telephone directory or through the Citizen’s Advice Bureau.

Emissions into the atmosphere and other related environmental issues such as discharges into rivers are dealt with by:

Northern Ireland Environment Agency
Klondyke Building
Cromac Avenue
Tel: 0845 302 0008

What we do

Under the law, the duty of care is placed mainly upon employers and the self-employed to look after the health and safety of themselves, their employees and any persons affected by their work activities, by doing whatever is reasonably practicable.

HSENI is responsible for enforcing a wide range of health and safety laws.

These include:

  • the Health and Safety at Work (Northern Ireland) Order 1978 (the 1978 Order) as amended by the Health and Safety at Work (Amendment) (Northern Ireland) Order 1998;
  • many Regulations made under the 1978 Order, for example the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations (COSHH) and the Control of Major Accident Hazards Regulations (COMAH);
  • other laws which cover particular hazards, such as parts of the Food and Environment Protection Act 1985 and the Control of Pesticides Regulations, both of which concern pesticides;
  • laws which apply to particular industries, such as quarries and transport undertakings;
  • earlier laws which apply across a range of industries, but not in all workplaces, such as the Factories Act (Northern Ireland) 1965 and Regulations made under it.

HSENI staff respond to enquiries and requests for information from employers, employees and other members of the public on a wide range of health and safety at work issues.

Our trained staff investigate complaints against employers in relation to:

  • unsafe and unhealthy working practices and environments; • unsafe machinery;
  • unsatisfactory health and safety training;
  • inadequate protection for the general public, e.g. unfenced building sites.

We also:

  • promote health and safety awareness through events such as conferences, exhibitions, seminars and workshops;
  • provide health and safety information and advice;
  • inspect places of work such as factories, building sites, quarries, fairgrounds, farms, railways and hazardous installations to ensure that statutory minimum health and safety standards are maintained and where necessary improved to reduce the number of accidents and cases of ill health at work;
  • investigate work-related accidents and cases of ill health.

Our investigation or inspection may result in formal enforcement action including prosecution. Decisions on whether to recommend prosecution depend entirely on the merits and circumstances of each case. Every decision to recommend prosecution is reviewed by our senior management. Our policy on enforcement action is set out in our Enforcement Guidelines for health and safety at work in Northern Ireland.

We provide a wide range of information and advice including reference materials on our website at:

Our standards of service

We believe that we can only be successful through working in co-operation and with the support of our customers. That is why we are committed to providing effective and effcient services in a professional manner. To ensure that we live up to this commitment we have set ourselves the following customer care standards.

We will:

  • identify ourselves by name on the telephone and in letters, and be courteous and helpful when you contact us. Field staff will carry warrants;
  • meet personal callers, with or without an appointment, within 5 minutes of arrival;
  • provide a response to an enquiry for information and advice immediately if possible, and in any event within 10 working days;
  • ensure that complaints are dealt with quickly and effectively;
  • treat information that you give us in confdence unless we are required to disclose it for legal reasons;
  • respond to request for leafets (subject to availability) within 5 working days.


We believe there should be no secrecy about how HSENI is run, who is in charge and whether we are meeting the standards published in this document. So that you can fnd out how we are doing, we will monitor our performance against these standards and publish the results in our annual reports. We will be open and honest about our failures as well as our successes. We will also include details of the kinds of complaints and comments we have received from our customers about the service and what we are doing to improve it.

Copies of our Annual Reports will be available from our website:

Improving Our Service

We are keen to maintain and improve our high level of customer service and to that end welcome any comment, either complimentary or critical, that you feel might contribute to this aim. It is not necessary that you give your name if you do not wish to do so. Simply write to, or telephone and ask for the Head of Services Division. We also plan to seek out views on our service performance through an independently conducted customer survey every three years. The results will assist us in monitoring our performance in providing existing services and helping us to develop new services where needs are identifed.

How we can help each other

Our staff welcome comments and suggestions on how to improve services and are continually trying to improve the way customers are treated.

If you are pleased with the service you have received, please let us know – this helps the staff dealing with you to know that they are providing the right kind of service and that their efforts are appreciated by those who matter most.

You can help us by:

  • letting us know if you cannot attend a meeting;
  • making sure that, when you contact us by telephone or in writing, you give us enough information so that we can get back to you if necessary;
  • completing any forms fully and clearly.

We also carry out regular customer surveys to help us fnd out exactly what you think about our publications and events – how relevant they are and how well, or badly, they are produced or delivered. Your views are taken into account when we plan for the future.

We also consult a wide range of interested bodies and organisations, including employers’ and employees’ representative bodies and also bodies representing groups covered by Section 75 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998, about any new legislation that is being considered, or any changes in current rules, regulations or policies. We will consider all the information we receive and the views expressed before new legislation or policies are made.

What to do if things go wrong

Although our objective is to provide a top quality service, there may be occasions when you believe that you have not received the level of service you are entitled to. If this arises, we are keen to ensure that you bring such instances to our attention so that your concern can be addressed. If we have made a mistake, you will receive an apology and we will take corrective action promptly.

Many concerns arise from misunderstandings and can be resolved by contacting the member of staff with whom you have been dealing. If you would prefer not to contact the member of staff concerned, of if you believe they have not resolved your concern, you can make a formal complaint in writing.

To make a complaint you should write in the frst instance to

Head of Services Division
83 Ladas Drive

Mark your envelope “Personal and Confdential”.

All complaints will be thoroughly investigated. If we cannot respond immediately we will acknowledge your letter within two working days, arrange for your case to be examined and reply to you within 10 working days.

If it is not possible to deal with your complaint within this time, for example, because it involves complex matters or requires detailed investigation, we will explain why and let you know when you can expect a response.

If you are still dissatisfed you should write to

Robert Kidd, Chief Executive of HSENI (at the above address) or email:

The Chief Executive will reply within 10 working days. If you are still not satisfed you can complain to the Ombudsman in his role as Commissioner for Complaints. The Ombudsman will expect you to have used our complaints procedure before referring a complaint to him/ her. You can fnd out more about making a complaint to the Ombudsman by: writing to:

The Ombudsman
telephone: Freephone 0800 343424

How to contact us

You can contact us by letter, telephone, fax, e-mail or via our website. We also have a freephone Helpline and a textphone.

Alternatively, you can call in person to our reception at our Ladas Drive offces. The normal opening times are from 9.00am to 5.00pm on Monday to Thursday and from 9.00am to 4.30pm on Friday.

Disabled parking, access and washroom facilities are available.

Contact details are as follows:

Write to or call at HSENI 83 Ladas Drive Belfast BT6 9FR Telephone Information and Advice Helpline 0800 0320 121 (freephone) or 028 9024 3249 for other enquiries Textphone 028 9054 6896 Fax 028 9023 5383
E-mail Website

Comments on our service and/or complaints should be addressed to:
Head of Services Division HSENI 83 Ladas Drive Belfast BT6 9FR
Tel: 028 9054 6852