HSE stands for Health and Safety Executive. They are a British governmental organisation, responsible for health and safety at work.

The HSE mission statement states that it exists...

to ensure that risks to people's health and safety from work activities are properly controlled.
HSE inspectors are responsible for visiting and inspecting various places of work. However, in retail premises, the Local Authortity (such as your town or city council) enforcement officers have jurisdiction. The breakdown (which I read on the HSE webpage, at http://www.hse.gov.uk) works like this:


factories, building sites, mines, farms, fairgrounds, quarries, railways (see HMRI), chemical plants, offshore installations (oil rigs etc), nuclear installations, schools and hospitals
Local Authority:
shops, some warehouses, most offices, hotels, catering, sports, leisure, consumer services and places of worship

The HSE is a quietly effective organisation, which the British public only ever hears about after a tragedy. The URL I mentioned above contains all the information you could ever want about the HSE. It is divided into a number of divisions and directorate, the most notable of which are

  • Offshore Safety Division
  • EECS (Electrical Equipment Certification Service)
  • Chemical Hazardous Installations Division
  • Health Directorate
  • Mines Inspectorate
  • Nuclear Safety Directorate
  • HM Railway Inspectorate