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How To Pass A Health And Safety Inspection With Flying Colours – What To Expect

September 19th, 2013

HSI“Health And Safety Inspection”. The phrase has struck fear deep in to the heart of many a business owner.

Health and Safety is rigorous in the UK; we’re fortunate to have excellent safety laws designed to make the most volatile workplaces safe for employees, customers and the general public.

The rigorous inspection doesn’t always feel so comforting when it’s your business that is being visited, however.

No need to worry though – most inspections are cordial and go without a hitch. Here’s an overview of what to expect.

Will My Business Be Inspected?

As of September 2012, the quantity of Health and Safety Inspections for UK businesses has been cut drastically. Only businesses operating in certain industries classified as “higher risk” are now subject to mandatory visits.

So if you’ve been subject to inspections in the past, or have entered an industry typically known for them, you might not need to worry about a knock on the door from the HSE.

However, if you have a health and safety incident in your recent history, or you’ve got a less than stellar safety record, then you can most likely expect a visit not too far in to the future.

What Does An Inspection Involve?

Essentially, the HSE representative is there for one purpose:  to determine whether your business meets the minimum requirements for health and safety in the workplace for your given industry.

They’ll aim to determine whether you are adequately controlling for the risks that you’ve identified as present, and that they might expect to find in a business like yours.

They’ll also be looking for clear evidence that you’ve conducted a thorough risk assessment, and that you’re on top of things when it comes to controlling the risks that you’ve identified.  Essentially, they want to see that you’ve identified hazards, performed gap analyses (i.e. determined the difference between what’s necessary and what you actually have in place) and what you’re doing to provide solutions such as effective personal protective equipment and safety training.

Stress At Work: The HSE’s Latest Concern

These days the Health and Safety Executive is keen on making sure that employees aren’t suffering undue stress in your business. This can often be a area that employers haven’t given much thought to, particularly in male-dominated industries such as construction.

If their focus on stress in the workplace takes you by surprise, take a look at the information pack provided on their website.  It should give you a fair idea of what you need to be aware of, and what their inspectors will be assessing your business on in this area.

stressed cat

What If My Business Fails Part Of The Inspection?

Although the thought of being reprimanded by Health and Safety might send shivers down your spine, all is not lost. You’d be very unlucky to suffer severe penalties after an initial inspection.

Usually, when Health and Safety inspectors find that your business falls short in some area, they’ll issue an ‘Improvement Notice’. This is essentially a formal way of telling you to that you need to make some changes, and you won’t be in trouble as long as you comply.

The Improvement Notice lays out the required changes, and the time period in which they need to be made. It will also outline the penalties for not doing so, which can range from fines all the way to closure of premises in extreme cases.

Ultimately, if you’re looking after your employees properly, then an imminent Health and Safety Inspection shouldn’t be something to keep you up all night.  Ensure your employees are kitted out with all thepersonal protective equipmentthey need, make sure it’s up to date, and make sure they know their safety procedures inside out. With these three areas sorted, you’ll be more than ready to pass your inspection with flying colours.


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