What Do HSE Inspectors Look For When Visiting Your Business?

Posted on written by Sam Barton

When an inspector from the Health and Safety Executive or your local authority visits your business premises, what are they actually looking for?

We all know that their job is to ensure that you remain compliant with the law and that your business provides a safe working environment for everyone from staff, visitors and the general public. That being said, many managers and business owners aren’t 100% sure what they are actually looking for when they visit.

In this weeks’ blog, we are going to show you the basics of what an HSE or local authority inspector is keeping an eye out for if they come out to your workplace.

Four Main Priorities

Inspectors generally have 4 main priorities that they look out for when they visit your business premises. These are:

  • Asbestos management – many buildings built before the year 2000 contain asbestos and the inspector will want to ensure an asbestos risk survey has been carried out, whether or not the asbestos is being monitored and also if proper controls are in place to manage this risk.
  • Falls from height – questions will be asked about how work is carried out at heights and this includes looking at things such as roof materials, fragile skylights, employee training etc…
  • Construction risks – this can include exposure to certain chemicals and materials such as silica dust or paint as well as manual handling and issues around prolonged exposure to high levels of noise
  • Other health risks – the inspector will look for other health risks, specifically related to respirable silica dust exposure.

While an inspector has a wide scope and will notice a varied range of health and safety problems if they exist, these are the 4 main things that they generally look out for.

What Are Their Powers?

We covered this in one of our previous blogs.

Essentially health and safety inspectors have the right of entry to your business (if they have been instructed to do so), issue improvement notices and also start prosecution proceedings for more serious offences.

Have a look at our blog post What Powers Do Health and Safety Inspectors Have? for more information.

Some Advice To Ensure Compliance

A visit from a health and safety inspector can be daunting but there are some things you can do to keep yourselves on the right side of the law particularly in relation to the 4 main things that they will look out for.

Carry out asbestos risk assessments to limit any exposure or liability and you can check out our recent blog on asbestos for more information – Is Asbestos Exposure Still A Problem In The UK?

Ensure that anyone working from heights has proper training (and the certificates to back this up) as well as carrying out risk assessments and having suitable insurance. Finally, following HSE guidance and complying with these directions will keep you compliant with health and safety regulations.

If you have any other tips or advice for dealing with visits from an HSE or local authority inspector then get in touch and let us know.

What do HSE inspectors look for when visiting your business - IOSH Blog

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