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Health and Safety Inspections

Our health and safety team inspects business premises and investigates accidents or complaints.

We have enforcement powers under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 to help us protect the health, safety and well-being of business employees and members of the public.

Our emphasis is on helping businesses to avoid significant risks by providing advice and guidance.  However,  we will use our enforcement powers to deal with those who put others at risk, particularly where they deliberately flout the law.

We do not routinely inspect business premises for health and safety, but may decide to do so as a result of an accident investigation, due to concerns noted during other work we do (such as a food hygiene inspection), or as a result of national or local health and safety priorities.


The Inspection

During an inspection, we check that any hazards to people, health, safety and welfare, which arise out of or in connection with work have been identified and the associated risks adequately controlled. We will look at the level of health and safety training of managers and employees to ensure that it is suitable. Checks will also be made on the adequacy of structural and environmental conditions and that plant and equipment are safe.

Where work practices or conditions fall short of what is regarded as satisfactory every attempt will be made to resolve the situation by informal means, but if this is not possible, or if the danger posed gives rise to a risk of serious personal injury, then officers will resort to formal action. This could involve either the service of a legal notice, prosecution, or in situations where serious personal injury could arise, a prohibition notice requiring immediate action. The type of action will depend on the nature of the breach and the principle laid down in the Council's enforcement policy.

What to expect when a health and safety inspector calls provides further information on inspections.


What happens next

Normally we will give advice on what is required to comply with the Health and Safety at Work Act.

However if any breach of the law is serious or persistent, we may issue an improvement notice to tell the duty holder to do something to comply with the law. We will discuss the improvement notice and, if possible, resolve points of difference before serving it. The notice will say what needs to be done, why, and by when. We will give you at least 21 days in which to resolve the problems. This also allows time to appeal the decision to an industrial tribunal if you want.. If the problems are not resolved, we can take further legal action.

In some circumstances  we can take further action such as serving a prohibition notice in cases where an activity involves, or will involve, a risk of serious personal injury.This will normally prohibit the activity immediately.



When any formal notice is served the employer will be told in writing about the right of appeal to an Industrial Tribunal including:

  • how to appeal and an application form
  • where and within what period an appeal may be brought
  • and that the remedial action required by an Improvement Notice is suspended while an appeal is pending


Information to employees or their representatives

By law the employer must have arrangements in place for consulting and informing employees or their safety representatives about health and safety. The inspector should meet or speak to employees during a normal visit to gauge whether this is being effective.

The officer will provide copies of his report to employee representatives giving details of any issues requiring attention and any formal action that is being taken.


Updated: 26 Mar 2018
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