States of Guernsey Health & Safety Executive

Click a subject for more information

1. Asbestos removal and the
dangers of asbestos »

2. Health & Safety in the office »

3. Hazardous waste, pesticide /
chemical disposal & collection »

4. Risk assessments »

5. Health & Safety policy
statements »

6. Petroleum storage / licensing »

7. Scaffold permits »

8. Pesticide permits »

9. Training »

10. Maximum/ minimum
 temperatures in a working
environment »
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Frequently Asked Questions

Q - Is there any local advice on controlling legionella?

A - YES The Commerce and Employment Board (now Committee for Employment & Social Security) Approved a Code of Practice entitled, "The Control of Legionella Bacteria in Water Systems in Guernsey" (the ACoP) under the powers of the Health and Safety at Work (General) (Guernsey) Ordinance 1987, (go to the download section for the full text). The ACoP requires those in control of buildings with cooling towers and water systems (property owner / facilities manager / building occupiers) to adopt suitable means to control Legionella in their premises. Therefore, water systems within the work place must not pose a risk to health so far as is reasonably practicable.

The principal requirements of the ACoP are as follows: -

•  Survey, identify and assess the sources of risk;
•  Prepare a scheme (or course of action) for preventing or
   controlling the risk;
•  Implement and manage the scheme - appointing a competent    person to be managerially responsible, sometimes referred to
   at the 'responsible person';
•  To provide training for persons with delegated responsibilities;
•  Implement a system for sampling to ascertain biological activity
   and biocide concentration and keep records of the results;
•  Monitor and keep records of water temperature in various parts
   of the system;

In addition, under the Health and Safety at Work (General) (Guernsey) Ordinance, 1987, Section 9 and Schedule 2 Part I (9), any positive Legionella results must be reported to the HSE regardless of the number of Colonies Forming Units (cfu) found.

Q - Where can I get Health and Safety information?

Help is available from the Health and Safety Executive. By visiting this web site you have made the first step in the right direction.

Q - In what format is the information available if my query
cannot be resolved by the contents of this web site?

1. Advice over the telephone

2. Publications posted to an address of your choice

3. An investigatory visit

4. Referral to another States Department (e.g. Environmental Health - burning bonfires).

Q - Can my enquiry/complaint be made anonymously?

Yes is the simple answer. However if a visit to the work place is necessary, questions maybe asked by the employer as to why the visit was initiated.

Q - How much will it cost?.

The Health and Safety Executive is here to provide a service and most of the time there is no charge.

Where a charge may be incurred is when a request for more than one, or a specialised publication is received.

Q - Are there any accident statistics produced by the HSE?.

Yes - these are compiled from Accident Report Forms forwarded to us by the employer's of the injured parties. (The figures are correct at the time of writing - 14th March 2016). Download these statistics in PDF format

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Why is asbestos dangerous?

Breathing in asbestos fibres can lead to asbestos-related lung diseases, mainly cancers, and can take from 15 - 60 years to develop. The vast majority of people now dying were exposed to asbestos during the 1950s and 1960s, when the use of asbestos in the UK was at its peak.

Many of today's asbestos victims worked in building trades. They were carpenters, joiners, shopfitters, plumbers, electricians etc. They were exposed to asbestos dust in their day-to-day work with asbestos materials or because work with asbestos was carried out near them.

Building maintenance, repair and refurbishment workers

Owners of commercial buildings: If you own or occupy a commercial building you will need to prepare an asbestos management plan.
See Part of the ACoP

Before you carry out any maintenance, repair or refurbishment, on buildings built prior to 1999, you should check the asbestos register and management plan in a commercial building, or obtain an asbestos survey in domestic premises. If you uncover any hidden material or dust which you suspect may contain asbestos, stop work and get advice.


First and foremost, phone the Health & Safety Executive (Tel. 234567) if you are at all worried. If the product in question is in good condition and not breaking-up or crumbling, then it shouldn't cause a problem. It will still be doing the job that it was intended to do when first installed.
It is only if you need to repair / remove or drill into something, that may contain asbestos, that a problem arises.

Disposal of Asbestos Sheeting (bonded asbestos)

  • Double bag asbestos waste before it dries, in heavy duty polythene bags.
  • Label the outer one to show that it contains asbestos.
  • If a skip is being used, then do not mix other building material / rubbish with it.
  • This can then be taken to Mont Cuet landfill site for disposal.
Removal / disposal of asbestos lagging, insulation boards and sprayed asbestos should only be removed by a specialist contractor.

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Common Questions:-

Q. Do employers have to provide eye tests for VDU operators?

A. There is no legislation in Guernsey that requires employers to provide eye tests for VDU operators. However, employers do have a 'duty' towards their staff to ensure they have sufficient breaks away from their screens or provide a mixture of tasks.

Q. How many toilets / washbasins should be provided?

A. Separate facilities must be provided for men and women unless each toilet is in a separate lockable room. The minimum number of facilities given in the Code of Practice is : -

Number of people at work number of toilets/washbasins

1 - 5 persons = 1. 6 - 25 persons = 2. 26 - 50 persons = 3. 51 - 75 persons = 4. 76 - 100 persons = 5

There must be a supply of clean running, hot and cold water and soap.

Q. How much 'space' should be allotted to each individual?

A. If an office is overcrowded, accidents and injuries are more likely to happen, particularly slips, trips and falls. Overcrowded offices are less comfortable and more stressful, therefore affecting workers' health, safety and welfare.

Eleven cubic metres (or 3.7 square metres) per person is the requirement. The work station (desk, chair) is included in this calculation, but space taken up by other equipment such as filing cabinets is excluded.

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Q. I've been clearing out an old shed, where can I take the old chemicals, thinners, pesticides etc.

A. Please phone our office first. Our Technical Officer will then arrange a time, convenient to you, for collection of the unwanted items.

We discourage people from transporting the items to Raymond Falla House -

1. Safety reasons, e.g. spillage on route / fumes from chemical

2. Mr Ingrouille, our Technical Officer may not be in the building and able to receive and store your items safely.

Please do not dispose of 'unknowns' yourself - contact this office and we will help

Hazardous Waste Disposal

A set of requirements must be met before disposal can proceed.

If possible dispose of waste locally.

The waste cannot be shipped until the Environment Agency in England and the Environmental Department in Guernsey has checked every item for shipment.

A bond has to be taken out to cover the full cost of returning the waste to the consignor if necessary.

The waste has to be traceable - known as "Cradle to Grave".

For further information please contact:-

Geoff Ingrouille. Technical Officer. Telephone:- 234567

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Q. Do I need to do a risk assessment?

A. You are legally required to assess the risks in your workplace, how else can you ensure the safety of your employee's if you do not understand the inherent risk.

Q. What is a risk assessment?

A. A risk assessment is nothing more than a careful examination of what, in your work, could cause harm to people. You need to weigh up whether enough precautions have been taken to prevent harm.

Your aim is to prevent accidents and avoid work related illnesses.

Q. How do I assess the risks in the workplace?

A. There are five steps to follow:

1. Look for the hazards.
2. Decide who might be harmed and how.
3. Evaluate the risks and decide whether the existing     precautions are adequate or whether more should be done.
4. Record your findings.
5. Review your assessment and revise it if necessary.

A leaflet "5 Steps to Risk Assessment" is available for download here or by e-mailing for a postal delivery by clicking here:-
Please include full name and contact information plus details of publication required.

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Q. What is a Health & Safety Policy Statement?

A. A health and safety policy statement sets out how you manage health and safety in your organisation. It is a unique document that shows who does what and when and how they do it.

Under The Health and Safety at Work (General) (Guernsey) Ordinance, 1987 each employer, where 5 or more persons are employed, has a legal duty to prepare and as often as may be appropriate, revise a written statement of his general policy with respect to the health and safety at work of his employees and the organization.

Arrangements for the time, being in force to carry out that policy and for that statement (or revision), must be brought to the notice of all employees.

Each individual organization/business is different and that is the reason why a 'standard form' can not be produced.

Help and guidance can be gained through reading the publication: 'An Introduction to health and safety' ISBN 0 7176 2685 7. available from HSE Books (, by contacting Mrs Jean Bourgaize Tel. 234567 or by e-mailing
Please include full name, contact information and details of publication required.

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Q. Do I need a licence to store petroleum?

A. It is permissible to keep or store Inflammable Oils without a licence from the Petroleum Inspector, the Commerce and Employment Department (now Committee for Employment & Social Security) in the following cases: -
For domestic use, in an inhabited house or in a room directly communicating with an inhabited house, in quantities not exceeding two gallons, provided that such oils be kept in hermetically-sealed vessels.

For commercial, professional and private or machine use, but not for sale, in quantities not exceeding ten gallons and in conformity with such regulations which may be prescribed by Ordinance of the Royal Court.

In motor-car, motor-cycle, motor-lorry and stationary-engine tanks adapted to the use of Inflammable Oils.

For use other than for sale, in quantities not exceeding twenty-five gallons, provided that such oils be kept in hermetically-sealed vessels, and in a building used exclusively for this storage, which building must be situated not less than twenty feet from any other building.

Q. I own a garage, can I make alterations to the site?

A. Petroleum storage and licensing is governed by:

The Loi Relative aux Huiles ou Essences Minerales ou Autre Substances de la Meme Nature, 1924 (translation - Law Relating to Mineral Oils or Essences, or Other Substances of the Same Nature, 1924).

No material alteration or addition to any licensed store or premises can be made without applying for permission from the Health and Safety Executive.

Q. My brother is going to take over the management of my garage, is this OK

A. Persons who are responsible for the safe storage of petroleum spirit under an existing licence cannot transfer that responsibility.

See also Regulations > Petroleum for information regarding licence application forms.

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Generally all scaffold which is erected on the island must comply with the relevant British Standard. In addition, scaffolds erected on or over the public highway require a licence to be granted by the Executive under the terms of The Public Highways Ordinance, 1967. The permission of the relevant parish constable is also necessary.

Licences granted under the terms of the ordinance will often require specific safety features to ensure that the general public are not put at risk from their erection or the intended use of the scaffold. Such measures could include fan protection, fully lined working lifts etc.

The duty implied by the licence is such that the scaffolding contractor and the hire / user must ensure the safety of the public by whatever means is appropriate. Application must therefore be made in advance of the date of anticipated building of the scaffold.

Whilst the ordinance predominantly covers scaffolds, other structures such as hoardings, suspended rails, cable wires etc., also require permission.

See also Regulations > Scaffolding for information regarding licence application forms.

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Q. Can I buy / use a professional product as the chemicals available in the garden centres are not 'strong' enough?

A. Under The Poisonous Substances (Guernsey) Law, 1994 Commerce and Employment (now Committee for Employment & Social Security) may make provision over the prohibition, regulation or control of the -
importation, production, treatment, keeping, storage, movement, transport, distribution, disposal, acquisition, supply, sale, use or consumption of any poisonous substance.

Only people with a current National Proficiency Test Council Certificate of Competence, can purchase professional pesticides / chemicals, in fact, the certificate and/or identity card must be shown at the time of purchase.

Q. Can I import Antifouling Paint?.

A. Under the Control of Poisonous Substances (Guernsey) Regulations 2014, a licence is required before importing Antifouling Paints.

See also Regulations > Pesticides for information regarding licence application forms.

Q. What guidelines are there for the storage of pesticides / chemicals?

A. Guidelines and handouts relating to the storage of chemicals / pesticides or any poisonous substance, can be obtained by contacting

The H & S Executive on 234567 or email:

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HSE Guernsey no longer provides any training.

Chain Saw Competence Training and Chemical Spray Courses are now arranged and provided by the Guernsey College of Further Education. Tel: 737500

Fork Lift Driving Courses - We can provide contact details if you call Jean Bourgaize Tel: 234567.

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Each year, especially when the weather is very hot or cold, we receive numerous calls from employees and employers as to what the maximum / minimum temperature should be.

Unfortunately there is no straight forward answer that would encompass all different types of working environment.

A 'minimum' temperature for workrooms of at least 16ºC (62ºF) if the job is sedentary is recommended. If much of the work involves severe physical effort, then this temperature changes to 13ºC (56ºF).

A 'maximum' temperature is not recommended as once again it depends on the work involved. Catering establishments are notoriously 'hot' places.

The Health and Safety at Work (General) (Guernsey) Ordinance, 1987
states that - 'It shall be the duty of every employer to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of his employees'.

Some simple ways to ensure thermal comfort in hot weather:

1. Ensure that windows can be opened (screened / filtered if necessary)
2. Shade windows with blinds or reflective film
3. Provide fans, e.g. desk, pedestal or ceiling mounted
4. Allow sufficient breaks to enable employees to get cold drinks or to cool down

Some simple ways to ensure comfort in cold weather:

1. Provide adequate heating in the workplace or local heating such as temporary heaters
2. Reduce draughts
3. Provide insulated duck boards or other floor covering or special footwear, where workers have to stand for long periods on cold floors
4. Provide the appropriate type of protective clothing.

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