Safety Services


Enforcing Authorities

The work that is carried out by UCL is overseen by a number of different external regulatory bodies for health and safety, such as the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

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There are many regulatory bodies that oversee the work at UCL to ensure compliance with and enforce health and safety law. The primary health and safety regulator in the UK is the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

Inspectors from enforcement authorities have certain statutory powers which may include the right to enter premises for the purposes of inspection and other matters. Although they may be able to enter premises without notice, most will make contact in advance to arrange a formal inspection/visit.

Enforcing authorities

This section provides information on the different regulatory bodies that may visit UCL to carry out inspections, check and enforce compliance with health and safety and allied legislation and under what remit they may be carrying out their work.

Health and Safety Executive (HSE)
Enforcement of health and safety at work legislation

HM Inspectors for Health and Safety will inspect any workplace including construction sites. Specialist inspectors examine work with radiation, biological agents and genetically modified organisms

Medical and occupational health inspectors provide specialist advice on occupational health matters and have the same powers as other HSE inspectors

HSE inspectors may inspect/enforce on behalf of other agencies (e.g. HSE enforces controls on the storage and use of pesticides as part of the work activity on behalf of DEFRA)

Fire authorities
Enforcement of the fire safety provisions in designated places of work under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005

Process fire precautions e.g. storage of flammable liquids in all areas

Local authorities
Local Authorities are bound by statute and their functions are set out in numerous Acts of Parliament

Due to the nature of work undertaken at UCL, inspectors from Local Authorities will usually be from 3 different departments:

  • Food Standards Agency – they will evaluate food hygiene ratings
  • Building Planning – looking at changes UCL makes to its 200+ buildings
  • Due to the type of outreach work at UCL, the Local Authority will also ensure that our facilities are as accessible as possible
Environment Agency
The Environmental Permitting Regulations 2016 (EPR) are enforced by the Environment Agency (EA)

The EA periodically inspects compliance with EPR permits UCL holds for the purpose of acquiring, storing and using radioactive material, and for accumulating and disposing of radioactive waste. The Radiation Protection Team, in Safety Services, liaises with the inspector to arrange and co-ordinate these inspections

The EA also enforces the regulations related to both non-hazardous and hazardous waste. For each load of non-hazardous waste removed from UCL, a waste transfer note is required. Alternatively, a document with the same information, such as an invoice.

The Office for Nuclear Regulation

The Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) is the safeguards regulator and operates the UK State System of Accountancy for, and Control of, Nuclear Materials

The Nuclear Safeguards (EU Exit) Regulations 2019 are enforced by the ONR who inspect UCL's accountancy and control system for qualifying nuclear material, as well as its implementation within departments
Counter Terrorism Security Advisors (Police)
Enforcement of Anti Terrorism, Crime and Security ActConcerned with the security of explosives and precursor chemicals (including fertilisers), pathogens and toxins, radiological sources and other toxic chemicals. There are overlaps/similarities with health and safety legislation e.g. regarding containment.
Human Tissue Authority
Enforcement of the Human Tissue Act

Human Tissue Act regulates the storage and use of human tissue from the living, and the removal, storage and use of tissue from the deceased; there are some overlaps with H&S legislation.

N.B. Safety Services do not need to be informed of inspection by the HTA

Department for Transport
Enforcement of dangerous goods transport regulationsDepartment for Transport regulators may inspect goods in and out areas, ask questions about couriers and visit any department that ships dangerous goods, including infectious substances
Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS)
Responsible for implementing the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) in the UKThe UK's CWC National Authority is BEIS. It collects information required under the CWC for onward transmission to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW)

 Contact with an enforcing authority

Safety Services co-ordinates all contact with the HSE such as reporting under RIDDOR and incident investigation.

If you need to contact the HSE, please let Safety Services know by emailing safety@ucl.ac.uk so that we can support you in this communication.

If an inspector arrives at your workplace

  • Find out which enforcing authority they are from and whether they are on a scheduled visit (i.e. to meet a named contact or an unannounced visit).
  • Ask for a form of identification and request that they sign in and complete the local induction process for visitors.
  • Find out where they would like to visit and the purpose of the visit.
  • Whilst the inspector is being inducted, contact Safety Services (ext 57587) to let them know an inspector has arrived at your place of work and the purpose of their visit. If necessary, a member of Safety Services may accompany the inspection. 

If an inspector contacts you directly

If you are contacted directly by an inspector planning a visit in regards to health and safety legislation, please ask them to contact safety@ucl.ac.uk who will co-ordinate the inspection on behalf of UCL.

Although an inspector may only want to visit one particular workplace, we need to ensure that any issues raised during the inspection are promulgated throughout the rest of the University as necessary. In advance of any planned visit, Safety Services will review the area to be inspected, including any relevant documentation, to ensure that the inspection runs as smoothly as possible.

Construction inspections

If any construction site inspections are carried out by an enforcing authority, where the site is managed by a Contractor or Principal Contractor as per the CDM regulations, the UCL Estates Health and Safety team must be informed by email within 24 hours by emailing estates.admin@ucl.ac.uk.

The outcome of the visit must be subsequently reported to UCL Safety Services within 5 working days by emailing safety@ucl.ac.uk.

Fire inspections

Fire Safety Inspection Officers from the fire brigade should be accompanied by a member of the UCL Fire Safety Team to ensure that correct information, documentation and queries can be managed or challenged effectively. 

Departmental or student accommodation managers should not permit the fire brigade to carry out inspections without the Fire Safety Team being available. 

All requests from the fire brigade should be referred to the Fire Safety Team by emailing fire@ucl.ac.uk.

    Statutory examination of equipment

    In accordance with the law, UCL and departments arrange for statutory examinations to be carried out on relevant equipment. The documentation relevant to these inspections should be made available to inspectors upon request.

    It is the role of the Appointed Person for the equipment to ensure that this documentation is available. An example of this paperwork is the thorough examination certificate for lifting equipment and accessories.

    > Further guidance can be found at statutory testing

    Last updated: Tuesday, January 26, 2021