Preparing for a health and safety inspection

During a normal inspection visit, an inspector will expect to check that those in charge, eg employers, have arrangements in place for consulting and informing employees or their representatives, eg safety representatives, about health and safety matters. Such arrangements are required by law.

Preparing for an inspection

During a normal inspection visit, an inspector will expect to check that those in charge, eg employers, have arrangements in place for consulting and informing employees or their representatives, eg safety representatives, about health and safety matters. Such arrangements are required by law. An inspector will meet or speak to employees or their representatives during a visit, wherever possible, unless this is clearly inappropriate because of the purpose of the visit. When they meet, employees or their representatives should always be given the opportunity to speak privately to the inspector, if they so wish.

The inspector will provide employees or their representatives with certain information where necessary, to keep them informed about matters affecting their health, safety and welfare. This information relates to the workplace or activity taking place there, and action which the inspector has taken or proposes to take. The type of information that an inspector will provide includes:

· matters which an inspector considers to be of serious concern: · details of any enforcement action taken by the inspector; and · an intention to prosecute the business (but not before the dutyholder is informed).

The health and safety inspector may visit any workplace without giving notice. For a routine inspection, he or she will usually phone ahead to ensure the relevant staff are available.

When you know an inspector is going to visit it is helpful to prepare. You can then show the inspector what you are doing to meet your legal duties. You may also want to ask the inspector’s advice on any specific hazards or how you are managing health and safety.

The main function of the inspector is to secure compliance with the law and help you meet your legal duties. They will only take action against you as a last resort, and will be happy to answer any technical questions, or will direct you to other information sources.

The inspector will be trying to judge whether you are aware of the main risks of injury and ill health in your workplace and if you are taking action to control them. They will usually want to check:

· the workplace · work activities · your management of health and safety · whether or not you are complying with health and safety law

Ensure that you have the following to hand:

· Your safety policy. · Any risk assessments · Records of any inspections of work equipment which are required by law, such as lifting equipment, pressurised systems or local exhaust ventilation to control exposure to substances used at work. · Any written safe working methods. · Any records of safety training carried out.

What to do if there’s an accident

Employees should report any accidents that occur at work to their employer and put them in the accident book. As an employer, you also have a responsibility to report certain accidents to the Health and Safety Executive. This can be done by phone, fax or email.

Under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995 (RIDDOR), employers must report deaths, major injuries, injuries or diseases that involve being off work for more than three days, and dangerous occurrences (but only if they ‘arise out of or are in connection with work’). This includes violent incidents. The relevant report forms are available at www.riddor.gov.uk/reportanincident.html. You also need to report the death or injury (if it requires a trip to hospital) of members of the public (but only if they ‘arise out of or are in connection with work’).

HSE recommendations also state that it is good practice for first aiders and appointed persons to record incidents that required their attendance. The information can help identify accident trends and possible areas for improvement in the control of health and safety risks. It can also be used as a record in future first aid needs assessments.

The first thing to do if there is an accident is to tell your safety representative, if there is one. The incident or details of the illness should then be recorded in the accident book, and the relevant line manager informed. If the injured party need to, they must visit their GP or local casualty department, explaining how it happened, and what job they do.

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