Guide

What to expect from a health and safety visit

Preparing for the health and safety inspector's visit

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

When you know that 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 inspector's main function is to ensure compliance with the law and to help you meet your legal duties. They will only take action against you as a last resort, and will answer any technical questions you may have, or direct you to other information sources.

Areas for inspection

The inspector will try to judge whether you are taking account of employee welfare, whether you are aware of the main risks of injury and ill health in your workplace, and if you are taking action to control those risks. They will usually want to check:

  • the workplace
  • work activities
  • your management of health and safety
  • the provision of adequate welfare facilities for eating, resting and sanitation
  • whether or not you are complying with health and safety law

How to prepare

You may want to ensure that you have to hand:

  • your health and safety policy - see write a health and safety policy for your business
  • risk assessments - see health and safety risk assessment
  • records of any inspections of work equipment which are required by law - this includes lifting equipment, pressurised systems or local exhaust ventilation to control exposure to substances used at work
  • any written safe working methods
  • any records of health and safety training carried out
  • a valid employers' liability insurance certificate