Health and safety inspections

We carry out inspections 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.

This allows us to visit your business without an appointment during normal working hours.

We may also inspect your business after a workplace incident or risk has been reported.

On this page:

When we visit

Our focus is on helping businesses to understand what they need to do to operate a safe workplace.

We will provide or signpost you to useful information or as part of national or local health and safety projects. 

An inspection may be carried out:

  • while investigating an accident
  • due to concerns noted at other visits (such as a food hygiene inspection)
  • as a result of local or national concerns over certain business types.

During the inspection

When we inspect your business, you can expect us to:

  • be courteous
  • show you official identification and explain why we are there
  • give feedback on what can be done to improve health and safety standards and recognise good practices
  • make a clear distinction between what is required by law and what is recommended as good practice
  • provide written reasons explaining any action we will be taking, providing the relevant section of the Act or Regulation
  • give you a reasonable time to comply with any legal requirements (unless the matter is of serious risk to public safety, in which case a more immediate solution will be discussed)
  • tell you the procedure for appealing against any action or requesting a second opinion.

During an inspection, we will look at what you have in place to prevent harm to the health and safety of your employees and others. 

The type of activity carried out by businesses may vary significantly, but typically the issues that we will consider include the following: 

  • have you identified the hazards and associated risk relating to the work activities
  • have risk assessments been completed where necessary
  • has suitable health and safety training been provided
  • are structural and environmental conditions adequate, and any plant and equipment safe
  • where necessary, is the documentation suitable and sufficient
  • are employee welfare requirements suitably provided
  • what arrangements are in place to consult and inform employees.

Visit the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) website for more information on the inspection process.

After a visit

Our emphasis is on helping businesses by providing qualified advice and guidance to avoid significant risks. 

Sometimes we may need to take further actions to achieve health and safety compliance, in accordance with our enforcement policy. These include the following:

  • a letter which details the findings of our visit and explains any legal requirements, along with what is required to achieve compliance. It also provides guidance on how to generally improve health and safety standards
  • an improvement notice, this is a legal document that requires work to be done in a specified period of time.
  • prohibition notice, this is a legal document immediately prohibiting an activity that has been identified as having the potential to cause serious harm. 

Failure to comply with an improvement or prohibition notice is an offence. However, employers do have a right of appeal to an industrial tribunal within a specified time period.

Health and Safety Enforcement Policy

The document below informs you how we enforce health and safety legislation. It also tells you what to expect from enforcement officers when they visit your business, and what guides them when carrying out inspections and dealing with breaches in the law.

Icon for pdf Health and Safety Enforcement Policy [87.0KB]

Contact details

You can contact us for information about health and safety inspections using the details below.


Phone: 02380 285411

Food and Safety Team
Appletree Court
Beaulieu Road
SO43 7PA

Our office hours are:

Monday to Thursday: 8.45am to 5.15pm

Friday: 8.45am to 4.45pm

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