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Health and safety

Last updated on: 02-Dec-2020

2. Inspections

Whilst the primary responsibility for identifying health and safety hazards and controlling risks rests with a business, health and safety inspections are undertaken by our Commercial Team.

Will my business receive an inspection?

Higher risk premises receive routine inspections. Inspectors have the right to enter and inspect a premises at all reasonable times. They do not have to make an appointment and they may come without advance notice.

How often a routine inspection takes place will depend on the potential risk posed by the business and its previous record of compliance. Some premises may be inspected at least every twelve months, others much less often.

Lower risk premises may be sent questionnaires for completion and will only be visited if we receive an accident report, complaint or an adverse lift report.

What is the purpose of inspections?

The purpose of an inspection is to:

  • determine whether the business is complying with all the relevant health and safety legislation.
  • gather information through observations and discussions with business operators, staff and their representatives in order to make a judgement on the health and safety culture at the premises
  • identify potential hazards and associated risks to health, safety and welfare of staff.
  • assess the effectiveness of management controls implemented to ensure the health safety and welfare of their staff.
  • identify specific contraventions of health and safety legislation.
  • consider the most appropriate course of enforcement action to secure compliance with health and safety legislation.
  • provide advice and information to business operators.
  • provide recommendations of practical, good health and safety practice.
  • promote the continued improvements and good standards of health, safety and welfare through the adoption of good practice.

What powers do Inspectors have?

  • They can take samples and photographs, and inspect records. A business operator must not obstruct inspectors.
  • They can take action to make safe any items or equipment which pose an imminent risk to health to the operator or anybody that uses the equipment. This could be followed up by a Prohibition Notice preventing use of an item of equipment or process if there is an imminent risk to health.
  • They may write informally asking the proprietor to put right any problems they find. Where breaches of the law are identified, which must be put right, they may serve an Improvement Notice.
  • They can detain or seize equipment.
  • In serious cases they may decide to recommend a prosecution. If the prosecution is successful, the Court may impose fines and possibly imprisonment.

Enforcement

All our inspections and actions are carried out in accordance with our Enforcement Policy and the Government's Enforcement Concordat. The purpose of the policy is to ensure that enforcement decisions are always consistent, balanced, fair and relate to common standards to ensure the public is adequately protected.

The action to be taken by the officer will be proportionate to the risk to health, safety and welfare arising from any contravention of the health and safety legislation identified. In deciding the type of action, the officer will take into account:

  • The seriousness of the offence.
  • The previous history of compliance.
  • The confidence in the management (for example, willingness to rectify and/or improve conditions).
  • The consequence of non compliance.
  • The likely effectiveness of the various enforcement options.

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