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What happens when an HSE inspector calls?

Health and Safety Executive (HSE) inspections are on the increase. In 2017/2018, HSE inspectors fined businesses £72.6 million for breaching health and safety laws. They issued 3883 prohibition notices. And they carried out 517 prosecutions, with 7% of offences resulting in immediate custodial sentences. However, prosecution is the worst-case scenario.

Why has the HSE inspector chosen this organisation?

The HSE inspects businesses working in high-risk industries. So if your organisation is high risk and has not had a visit for a while, don’t be surprised if an HSE inspector wants to take a look around.

This may be a random inspection but is more likely to be due to a previous incident, an issue raised by a worker, or a report of a serious injury on site.

What is the inspector looking for?

The inspectors want to check that employers are keeping their staff, customers and members of the public safe. They also review if work activities are being carried out in line with statutory requirements.

The inspector will ask about the health and safety issues affecting the business and what is being done to reduce risk. They may want to look around the site and inspect aspects of work being done, too.

If they are investigating an incident, the inspector will want you to describe what happened and what processes you had in place. They’ll look at your accident investigation report and any CCTV or photographs that may have been taken. They’ll also speak to your staff or read their witness statements.


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