The Defence Safety Authority is an independent organisation, empowered by charter from SofS to undertake the roles of regulator, accident investigation and Defence Authority for safety.
The DSA was formed on 1 April 2015 and draws its authority from a charter signed by the Secretary of State (SofS). It has 3 roles:
- firstly, it regulates safety across defence in terms of aviation, nuclear, maritime, land, ordnance and explosives, and fire
- secondly, it is responsible for investigating defence accidents
- thirdly, it is the Defence Authority for safety (including health and environmental protection)
The Director General DSA is the main convening authority for all service inquiries which relate to safety related deaths, serious injuries and major equipment loss or damage. These independent service inquiries provide a way for defence to learn from accidents and identify recommendations to prevent them from happening again.
- Defence Safety Authority charter (PDF, 379KB)
To provide independent assurance to the Secretary of State (SofS) that his policy on safety (including health and environmental protection) in defence is being promoted and implemented in the conduct of defence activities.
Demonstrably safe, environmentally sound, effective and available defence capability.
Who we are
The Secretary of State (SofS) issues a policy statement on health, safety and environmental protection (HS&EP) in defence. The Permanent Under Secretary (PUS) is appointed as the senior official responsible for putting the policy statement into practice. TLB holders and trading fund agency chief executives are senior duty holders and are responsible for choosing the duty holders in their organisation who manage activities which could be a risk to life. PUS holds TLB holders to account for their performance in terms of health and safety within the Defence Performance Framework.
SofS’ policy statement explains that where defence puts in place its own regulations for operational reasons, these are designed to produce outcomes that are, as far as reasonably practicable, at least as good as those needed by law. The policy statement also says that there has to be organisational separation (and so independence) between those carrying out defence activities and those within the MOD providing regulation.
As well as the HS&EP policy statement, SofS issues a charter granting independence to the DSA to carry out its roles as regulator, investigator and Defence Authority for safety. The Director General of the DSA is personally appointed by SofS to carry out this role and has the right of direct access to SofS to raise safety concerns that are not being satisfactorily dealt with using normal processes. The Director General DSA also provides independent assurance to SofS that his policy on safety in defence is being put into practice when carrying out defence activities. He does so by giving SofS an Annual assurance report.
The DSA is led by a military 3 star Director General (DG), currently Lieutenant General Richard Felton CBE.
- Defence Accident Investigation Branch (Defence AIB)
- Defence Fire Safety Regulator (DFSR)
- Defence Land Safety Regulator (DLSR)
- Defence Maritime Regulator (DMR)
- Defence Nuclear Safety Regulator (DNSR)
- Defence Ordnance, Munitions and Explosives (OME) Safety Regulator (DOSR)
- Military Aviation Authority (MAA)
- Headquarters Policy (HQ-Pol)
- JSP 309: Fuel and gas safety assurance
- JSP 375: Management of health and safety in defence
- JSP 390: Military laser safety
- JSP 392: Management of radiation protection in defence
- JSP 403: Handbook of defence land ranges safety
- JSP 418: Management of environmental protection in defence
- JSP 426: Fire safety manual
- JSP 430: Management of ship safety and environmental protection
- JSP 433: MOD diving safety policy
- JSP 454: Safety and environmental protection for defence
- JSP 482: MOD explosives regulations
- JSP 498: Major accident control regulations
- JSP 515: Hazardous stores information system
- JSP 518: Regulation of the naval nuclear propulsion programme
- JSP 520: Safety and environment management of OME over the equipment acquisition cycle
- JSP 538: Regulation of the nuclear weapon programme
- JSP 800: Defence movements and transportation safety regulations
- JSP 815: Defence health, safety and environmental protection (replaced by DSA 01.1: Defence policy for health, safety and environmental protection)
- JSP 862: MOD maritime explosives regulations part 1 surface ships
- JSP 862: MOD maritime explosives regulations part 2 submarines
- JSP 930: Generic maintenance inspection certification and testing (MICaT) for vehicles
- Defence health, safety and environmental protection assurance reports
- Secretary of State’s policy statement on health, safety and environmental protection
A list of DSA service inquiries is available here.
- Noise Amelioration Scheme (military)
- Noise Insulation Grant Scheme (NIGS) in the UK Government Web Archive
- Disposal of munitions at sea in the UK Government Web Archive
- Health and Safety Executive
- HCDC report: Beyond endurance? Military exercises and the duty of care
- Beyond endurance? Military exercises and the duty of care: Government response to the committee’s third report of session 2015/16