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HSE take action following whistleblower’s safety concerns

Amal* works for a charity providing wellbeing services to vulnerable adults. She called Protect following a serious incident where a service user had physically threatened her. Amal explained that she had raised concerns previously about the charity’s building not being safe for workers following previous incidents. She told us her requests for securing the premises and implementing additional safety measures for staff had been ignored.

Amal was very upset when she contacted Protect. She felt deeply unsafe at work, and isolated from the other members of staff. She said she didn’t know who else to turn to and what she could do. She said she dreaded being at work and wanted to know what she could do to make her employer listen and resolve the situation.

We acknowledged the gravity of Amal’s experience and reassured her that she had done the right thing by raising her concerns to her line manager. As Amal’s line manager and the charity’s management team had done nothing to address the issue, Amal needed to find a way to escalate it. We explained that as her concern focused on the premises being unsafe, she could contact the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). We sent her a link to the HSE’s Whistleblowing Reporting Page, our template for Raising whistleblowing concern safely, and talked through the potential risks and how to mitigate them.

Through the advice call we explained Amal’s legal rights and what she would be able to do if she was victimised by her employer for raising concerns. We shared practical tips, such as; keeping a log of any negative treatment she might receive going forward, and explained the time limits and next steps in bringing a claim.

A week later, Amal contacted us to thank us for the advice. She had raised her concern to the HSE who had carried out an inspection of the premises immediately. They made recommendations for the charity to implement and set a date of when they would next review the actions taken.

Amal told Protect that she could “see clearly” for the first time since the incident. After the HSE inspection she gained clarity on her situation and decided to look for a new job in the knowledge that her concerns had been passed to the correct people.

Protect really helped me at the beginning of my journey. Protect gave me free confidential advice and support that I could count on. They have a kind, professional, and friendly approach. I always felt reassured and protected. It helped to give me the confidence to move forward with whistleblowing. I would highly recommend Protect services. Whistleblowing can lead to positive changes in our workplaces. Let’s make our workplaces a better place for all.”

*Name has been changed at request of the individual.