The Health and Safety Executive in Guernsey (HSE) is the regulator for workplace health and safety in Guernsey and Alderney.
We provide advice, inspect workplaces, investigate accidents and incidents at work and secure compliance with health and safety laws through enforcement notices and prosecutions.
COVID-19 (the illness caused by the SARS-CoV-2 Coronavirus)
- From 25 March 2020, 'lockdown' rules are in force: Please follow this link for public health information on coronavirus.
- Travel to and from Guernsey is severely restricted and anyone entering the Bailiwick will be required to self-isolate for 14 days.
- COVID-19 is a reportable disease for workers (including healthcare workers) who are diagnosed (confirmed test) with COVID-19 as a result of their work.
The fundamental principle of Guernsey's health and safety legislation is that those who create the risks are best placed to manage them. This involves assessing the risks and putting measures in place to reduce or control the risks in the workplace.
COVID-19 (the illness caused by the SARS-CoV-2 Coronavirus) - advice to employers and employees
- COVID-19 is primarily a public health matter, and you can find the latest public health advice by following this link. This HSE advice applies HSC's general public health advice to the workplace and at the same time highlights specific health and safety issues.
1. Healthcare workers, residential and care facilities
- There are clear health and safety requirements to protect workers who come into contact with infectious micro-organisms such as coronavirus either as a direct consequence of their work e.g. those who carry out research work on the virus, or else may be exposed in the course of their work e.g. healthcare workers caring for infectious patients. Please follow this link for advice from the UK Government and Public Health England for health care workers and care facilities.
- Individuals are at risk from COVID-19 if they are in close contact with someone who has the disease or with objects that have been contaminated by infectious material e.g. droplets from coughs and sneezes on surfaces, used tissues/clothing etc. This means that there may be other workers (e.g. cleaners; prison staff or residential care workers in direct contact with sick people) to whom Health and Safety law applies. Where such direct contact is foreseeable, employers should carry out a risk assessment and put preventative measures and/or controls in place as appropriate. General advice on assessing and controlling the risks from infection of COVID-19 at work can be found on the UK government website.
- Please note, COVID-19 is a reportable disease, if an employee is infected as a result of their work. You must report only when the diagnosis has been confirmed by a pathology test (PCR testing).
2. Other workplaces and work activities
- Strict measures are in place from 25 March 2020. Guernsey Public Health have directed that people must stay at home. This is mandatory and the police have been given powers to enforce those measures. There are very limited exceptions for critical businesses and workers. In all situations, physical distancing must be followed and people must remain over 2 metres apart unless they are part of the same household.
- Please follow this link for guidance on safe home working.
- The routine use of gloves, surgical masks or FFP3 respirators is not currently recommended for workplaces, but may be appropriate in some healthcare settings.
- Good hand hygiene through regular hand washing with soap and water is the most effective way to prevent contamination and is preferred to the use of alcohol hand-gel, which should only be used where running water is not available (eg. deliveries).
- Building sites must close and only work that is essential to protect lives and the health and safety of the public may be allowed by exception.
- Although COVID-19 is normally a reportable disease, it is unlikely that exposure in non healthcare settings would be reportable, as any infection would be incidental to social contact, rather than the work activity.
3. Hand washing and alcohol hand gel / hand sanitiser use
- - PHE advises that:
- The best way to protect yourself from infections like coronavirus is to regularly wash your hands with soap and water. If soap or water aren't available and your hands are visibly clean then sanitiser gel can be used. Proper hand washing is the most effective method and this should be your first choice.
- - It is essential to wash your hands more often, especially:
- when you get to work or arrive home
- after you blow your nose, cough or sneeze
- before you eat or handle food
- - You should wash your hands for 20 seconds, using soap and water, or hand sanitiser only as a last resort when soap and water are not available.
- - Surface sanitisers and other professional or household cleaning liquids, sprays or wipes are not suitable for hand sanitising. They are likely to irritate the skin and often require a long contact time to be effective. If you need to use hand sanitiser at all, it needs to contain a minimum of 60% alcohol and be formulated for use on human skin. Alcohol-free alternatives are also available.
Exemptions from requirements during COVID-19 pandemic
- The Emergency Powers (Coronavirus) (Parochial Matters and Miscellaneous Provisions) (Guernsey) Regulations, 2020 came into force on 02 April 2020.
- Other emergency regulations may apply and can be found on the Law Officer's dedicated coronavirus page.
- The regulations empower the Chief Health and Safety Officer to grant certificates of exemption from certain health and safety requirements in limited circumstances:
- Periodic thorough examination and testing of lifting equipment and pressure vessels (when surveying engineers cannot travel to Guernsey);
- Weekly inspection of scaffolds (when the scaffold is not required for urgent work exempted until 07 April 2020 by General Authorisation No. 1);
- Testing of fixed electrical installations (when test engineers cannot travel to Guernsey);
- Annual gas safety checks for rented domestic properties (when access is not possible due to people isolating or shielding).
2. Conditions of exemptions
- Exemption certificates are valid for a maximum of 30 days, and a another application is required if a further exemption is required.
- Exemption certificates are specific to the equipment, location or installation. They do not exempt you from other health and safety requirements not covered by the certificate.
- The equipment, installation or appliance must be kept in a safe condition and good working order, even where an exemption from inspection, testing or thorough examination is granted.
3. How to apply
- An application must be made online by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org and providing:
- the detail of the equipment, installation or appliance for which the exemption is sought;
- the location of such equipment, and whether it is fixed or mobile (for lifting equipment);
- the reason why it cannot be thoroughly examined, tested, inspected or checked for safety, as the case may be;
- evidence of the last thorough examination, testing or inspections showing the expiry date;
- evidence that the equipment is currently maintained in a safe condition and good working order.
- HSE will prioritise applications for exemption for equipment falling due within the next 7 days, as we are anticipating a large number of applications.
Report an accident or a concern about workplace health and safety
Our role as the regulator for workplace health and safety
- As a regulator, we aim to prevent workplace death, injury or ill health.
- We achieve this using a variety of methods to influence change and help people manage risks at work. These include:
- providing advice, information and guidance
- raising awareness in workplaces by influencing and engaging
- operating permissioning and licensing activities in major hazard industries
- carrying out targeted inspections and investigations
- taking enforcement action to prevent harm and hold those who break the law to account
- The fundamental principle of health and safety law is that those who create risks are best placed to control them. We take into account the impact on the economy, by ensuring any action we take is proportionate, targeted, consistent, transparent and accountable.
- We work collaboratively with others in government to ensure that the most appropriate organisation intervenes.
- In Guernsey, HSE regulate all work activities, including:
Advice about workplace health and safety
- All employers and self-employed people have legal duties under Guernsey health and safety legislation, this extends to all businesses and housing landlords.
- Employees also have legal duties to cooperate with their employer and to use provided health and safety equipment correctly.
- If you need advice on workplace health and safety, please follow this link for guidance applicable in Guernsey and Alderney .
- If there is no specific Guernsey legislation applicable, HSE Guernsey will use UK legislation, approved codes of practice and guidance as the appropriate standard to benchmark health and safety compliance.
- Report health and safety concerns
Licences and permits
- This means we give 'permission' for certain work activities involving significant hazard, risk or public concern, for example where there are risks of:
- multiple fatalities from a single or linked series of events,
- widespread and significant adverse effects on human health.
- A permissioning regime means particular work activities can only start or continue when we grant a permit, for example, for the erection of scaffolds (follow this link for scaffold permit applications and guidance).
- A 'licence' is an authorisation from us to undertake a work activity which would otherwise be unlawful. It is only granted for very specific work activities.
- We operate licensing regimes in certain industry sectors where we provide authorisation for specific work activities, for example:
- issuing licences for explosives manufacture, importation and storage (follow this link for explosives licence application and guidance),
- issuing licences for petroleum storage and dispensing (follow this link for petroleum licence application and guidance),
- granting approvals (usually specifying working methods or equipment), eg for chemical products such as pesticides (follow this link for pesticide licence application and guidance)
- providing exemptions from legislation where we are satisfied that people's health and safety will not be affected (eg asbestos).
- Application forms can be found under the relevant topic (see links above). You must apply in advance and, in any event, at least 10 working days before you seek to commence the work. There is a fee payable for permits and licences [146kb].
4. How we decide on applications
- The HSE will consider your application, and we may require additional information before it can be processed.
- Being granted a permit or a licence is not a right but a privilege. Therefore, HSE expects all applicants to demonstrate high standards in all aspects of health and safety management, including controls of risks and activities, individual and corporate competence, and health and safety leadership.
- Your application may be refused if:
- you fail to provide all the required information;
- the work activity is not properly controlled;
- you have previously failed to comply with permit or licence conditions;
- you have been convicted of certain offences;
- you have failed to pay the fees required for permits or licences.
- You have a right of appeal against a decision to refuse to grant a permit or licence. Please contact email@example.com for details.
Employment issues (contracts, unfair dismissal, pay...)
- The Health and Safety Executive enforce health and safety legislation in Guernsey and Alderney. We are not able to deal with disputes between employees and employers. You should speak to your manager, Human Resources or trade union representative if your workplace has one in the first instance.
- If these steps have failed, you need to contact the States of Guernsey Employment Relations Service, who may be able to advise you. They provide information about employment relations, employment contracts and industrial disputes.
- The Health and Safety Executive do not deal with food hygiene and food safety issues.
- If you have a concern or comment, you may contact the Office of Environmental Health and Pollution Regulation on 01481 711161 or via their contact form.
- If you run a food business, find more information by following this link.
Unwanted chemicals and hazardous waste
- States Works now collect hazardous unwanted chemicals from householders and businesses. The States of Guernsey later export the waste for recovery or disposal, given the lack of suitable facilities on island. Some of the services are chargeable.
- Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 01481 246263 to dispose of unwanted chemicals and hazardous waste.
HSE standards of service
- We aim to provide excellent standards of service to all those who interact with us. If you are not satisfied with our service, please contact the HSE or phone 01481 234567 to discuss your concerns.
- If you received excellent service, please let us know by completing the online Compliments, Complaints and Comments form.
- If you want to complain about the service you received from HSE, you can do so via the States of Guernsey www.gov.gg/ccc.
HSE data protection and fair processing commitment
Why does HSE need your personal data?
- HSE only collects the information necessary to deal with your inquiry or comply with the reporting requirements of Health and Safety legislation in the Bailiwick of Guernsey. This includes both personal data and special categories of personal (aka sensitive) data.
- For statutory reports of accidents, incidents, dangerous occurrences and occupational diseases (RIDDOR), HSE may obtain:
- Your name, gender and date of birth;
- Your address, telephone (or mobile phone) number and email address;
- Name of your employer and your role or job title;
- Nature of the injury or medical problem;
- This information is retained for a minimum period of 40 years (the statutory period for the accident report forms to be retained).
- For general inquiries and complaints, HSE may obtain:
- Your name and one form of contact number for us to respond to your query or complaint.
- This information is retained for 7 years, where this relates to a safety or welfare issue, or for 40 years, where it relates to occupational diseases or health issues, for example asbestos exposure, or occupational noise and vibration.
- HSE also deals with anonymous complaints, and you do not have to provide us with any personal information, unless you require us to provide you with a response or additional information.
How does HSE obtain and use personal data?
- HSE's functions are set out in the Health and Safety at Work (General) (Guernsey) Ordinance, 1987. In carrying out these functions, we necessarily collect information on businesses and individuals. You might also provide us with information by using this website, for example, by giving us feedback or sending a query or request to us. HSE is registered as a data controller under the Data Protection (Bailiwick of Guernsey) Law 2017 (as amended) and a description of how we use personal information is included on HSE's entry on the register which is maintained by the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner.
- HSE is under a legal duty to protect any personal information we collect and we will only use that information in accordance with the law, including the Data Protection Laws and the Health and Safety at Work Ordinance.
Fair processing notice
- Additional information can be found on the States of Guernsey Data Protection page. Please follow this link to view the fair processing notice. [763kb]
- We use leading technologies and encryption software to safeguard data and apply strict security standards to prevent any unauthorised access to it. In order to carry out our functions and respond to enquiries effectively, we will sometimes need to share information with other government committees, the emergency services, law enforcement agencies and public authorities (including Trading Standards, Environmental Health, the waste authority). However, we will only do this where it is permitted by law or for the purpose of criminal investigations.
- You have the right to know if HSE is processing your personal data, and you may obtain a copy of your personal data from the HSE by emailing email@example.com. This service is free and normally takes up to one month. If you think data we hold is incorrect, please let us know and we will rectify any inaccurate personal data.
- We will not share your personal information with external parties without your consent except where we are required to by Law or in connection with a criminal investigation. In the absence of any previous consent provided by you, we will contact you should we consider disclosure to a third party is necessary for us to fully investigate your complaint or enquiry.
- This privacy notice does not cover any third party websites reached via links on this website. You are advised to read the privacy statements on the other websites you visit.
- If you have concerns about how your data is used, please contact the Data Protection Officer for the Committee for Employment and Social Security by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org .