Health and safety inspections

Our job is to keep people safe and healthy at work. We visit many locations every year as part of that job and may visit any premises within the borough that is under our enforcement.

Before we start

We may arrive without warning. This isn’t unusual, we don’t always tell people we’re coming, and the law lets us visit at any reasonable time. Although we have the powers to come into your workplace, our officers still have to follow the government’s code of practice on entering homes or businesses.

You can complain if you think our officer hasn’t followed the code.

During the visit

The officer will look at how you keep your workers, and anyone who may be affected by your work, healthy and safe. They may also give you advice on health and safety or make sure you are providing suitable welfare facilities, such as running hot and cold water and toilets.

While the inspector is with you, they may:

  • ask you about your workers and what they do
  • look at any possible health risks arising from the work you are doing
  • look at any machinery or other equipment that you have
  • ask to see records or other documents
  • take photographs

The inspector will want to know about:

  • the main health and safety issues in your workplace
  • your own knowledge or experience of health and safety

The inspector may also talk to you about things like safety standards, guidance and everyday practices in your industry.

The inspector may take action if they find you’re breaking the law during the visit. They may also tell you to stop a dangerous activity in your workplace immediately. For example, a dangerous activity could be people working on a roof where scaffolding is unsafe.

After the visit

After the inspector has finished looking round your workplace, they might:

  • offer advice (either verbal or in writing) to help you better comply with health and safety law
  • write to you requiring you to take specified actions to comply with health and safety law
  • give you an improvement notice (an improvement notice tells you what is wrong, what you must do to put it right and how long you have to make those changes. We will give you at least 21 days to make any changes. You commit a criminal offence if you don’t make the changes in the time we give you) 
  • give you a prohibition notice if there is a risk of serious personal injury now or in the future (a prohibition notice orders you to stop doing something until you have made it safe to continue. You commit a criminal offence if you don’t comply with a prohibition notice)
  • prosecute you for breaching health and safety laws (we can prosecute you for breaking health and safety laws or for failing to comply with an improvement notice or a prohibition notice. The courts can fine you or in some cases send you to prison)