Health and safety inspections

caution sign

What happens during a health and safety visit from a council officer depends on why the visit is being made and the type of workplace being visited.

Incident investigations

Incidents in premises that we enforce are reported to us via the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). 

We investigate the incidents dependent on risk and this includes how severe the injury was, what the likelihood is of the accident recurring, the extent of possible breaches of legislation, the type of accident and the past record of the business (see the HSE’s Incident Selection Criteria). We may use discretionary powers to investigate either a reportable or non-reportable incident (see Section 7.0 of the Incident Selection Criteria Guidance

The local authority is only empowered to act in cases where a breach of the Health and Safety At Work (etc.) Act 1974 has occurred. The Investigation outcomes are decided case-by-case and do not always result in enforcement action being taken. Unfortunately this may be perceived as unsatisfactory but we can only act in-line with our enforcement policy and relative guidance.

Incidents that involve an injury can be emotional and distressing for the injured party and their immediate family.  If there is a loss, you have recourse to seek independent legal advice and may pursue a civil case. This is separate to our statutory function.

General inspections

These are scheduled (programmed) routine visits and are influenced by the extent of risk to both employees and the public. This means that premises which pose the most serious risk, or where the risks have been poorly controlled in the past, will be visited more regularly.

Complaints about health and safety in the workplace

If you have a concern about the safety or welfare within your workplace, you can contact us for further advice. If we need to undertake a site visits, inspections are usually unannounced but may be by appointment. We will probably want to speak to managers, supervisors, employees, health and safety representatives and similar people. We will look at the working conditions in your company including:

  • how health and safety information is communicated to employees (for instance, on a health and safety poster)
  • adequacy of first aid provisions
  • correct use and storage of chemicals
  • safety of equipment and machinery
  • general cleanliness.

We will also look at records such as:

  • your health and safety policy statement (if applicable)
  • risk assessments (if applicable)
  • plant maintenance and inspection records
  • training records
  • accident records.

We are under a legal obligation to tell employees about issues concerning their health, safety and welfare at their workplace.

At the end of the visit we will advise on what further action, if any, is going to be taken. Any correspondence we send to you will be clear and will provide useful and relevant information on what is required.