Are you prepared for when an HSE inspector visits your organisation? The job of the HSE is to keep people healthy and safe at work. As part of that job, they visit thousands of businesses every year.
HSE Inspectors can arrive without warning, this isn’t unusual. They don’t always tell people they are coming and the law lets them visit at any reasonable time. Although they have the powers to come into your workplace, the inspectors still have to follow the government’s code of practice on entering homes or businesses.
Here’s what you can generally expect during an HSE inspection:
- Identification: The inspector will introduce themselves, provide their identification, and explain the purpose of the visit. They may also present an official letter notifying you of the inspection.
- Initial discussion: The inspector will likely want to have a preliminary discussion with you or a designated representative to gain an understanding of your organisation’s operations, processes, and potential hazards.
- Inspection: The inspector will conduct a thorough examination of your workplace, which may include all areas relevant to health and safety, such as workstations, machinery, storage areas, welfare facilities, fire safety measures, and more. They will be looking for compliance with applicable health and safety regulations and identify any potential hazards.
- Interviews: The inspector may want to interview employees or worker representatives to gather information about health and safety practices, training, and potential concerns. They may speak to managers, supervisors, or workers who have specific responsibilities related to health and safety.
- Document review: The inspector will likely request to review various health and safety documentation, including risk assessments, policies, procedures, accident records, training records, and any relevant permits or licenses. They will assess whether these documents are up to date and meet the necessary requirements.
- Observations and measurements: The inspector may make observations of work activities, noting any potential hazards or unsafe practices. They may also take measurements, such as noise levels or air quality, if applicable to your industry.
- Discussions and feedback: Throughout the inspection, the inspector may discuss their findings with you or your representatives. They may provide guidance on how to address any issues or areas of concern, explain the relevant regulations, and suggest improvements to your health and safety management.
- Enforcement action: If the inspector identifies serious health and safety breaches or significant risks, they may take enforcement action. This can range from issuing improvement notices or prohibition notices to formal legal proceedings, depending on the severity of the situation.
The Health and Safety Executive have produced a video which outlines HSE inspections quickly and simply:
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