Health and Safety Inspections
Who Gets Inspected?
We inspect offices, shops, warehouses, places used for leisure
activities and other non-industrial premises. Larger industrial
premises are inspected by the Health and Safety Executive. See the
Page for more information.
What Can Officers Do?
The Officers have the right to enter and
inspect premises at all reasonable hours. Visits are generally made
without any warning so that the Officers can get a true picture of
how the business usually operates. An officer may visit alone or be
accompanied by another officer.
When they visit they can:
- take samples
- take photographs
- inspect and make copies of records
- remove any items that they suspect to be unsafe or they may
prohibit their use
- prohibit the use of processes, equipment or even the whole
Although these powers are available, an
officer will always initially work with businesses to achieve good
standards of health and safety provided there is no immediate risk
to public safety.
During The Inspection
The Inspecting Officer will introduce himself,
produce identification and explain why the inspection is being
made. This could be due to a complaint or it could be just a
The Officer will usually ask to speak with the
business owner. If there is a health and safety representative, or
union representative, the officer will want to speak to them also.
During the visit, the Officers may
- look at the condition and layout of all of the food rooms
- check the temperature of foods
- watch how food is prepared
- ask questions of staff or the food business operator relating
to food handling practices and procedures
The Officers will also want to check paperwork such as:
- hazard analysis documents
- suppliers invoices
- temperature records
- cleaning schedules
- refuse contracts
- pest control records
After The Inspection
Once the Officer has completed the inspection,
he will discuss the findings of the inspection with a suitably
The Officer will make clear which issues are
contraventions (these must be sorted out) and which are
recommendations (these are suggestions for good hygiene
He will agree time scales within which the
work should be completed.
He will leave a summary report at the time of
the inspection and a more comprehensive report will be sent later
detailing all legal requirements and recommendations for good
Sometimes it may be necessary to serve legal
notices for significant contraventions or imminent risks to health.
These might be left following the visit or they may be sent at a
later date. Failure to comply with the notice may result in more
formal action such as prosecution. Further
information about Enforcement.
A follow up visit may be necessary to check
that any matters requiring attention have been suitably resolved.
The food business operator should always contact the inspecting
Officer before the time elapses if he feels the work cannot be
completed within the time period.
All documentation arising from the inspection
will be kept in the premises file and will be available for
inspection by the public.
How often should I expect a health and safety inspection of my
The frequency of inspection is decided according to national
guidance, and is dependent on the risks to employees and the
Premises are given a score rating, dependent on a number of
factors, and a total score given to the business determines which
category it falls into.
The categories are as follows:
- A. To be inspected not less than once per year
- B1. To be inspected not less than once per 18 months
- B2. To be inspected not less than once per 2 years
- B3, B4 and C. Intervention strategies other than inspections
may be used e.g. self assessment questionnaires, special projects,
The score rating for any premises may be changed in the light of
accidents or complaints so you may get an inspection sooner than
Sometimes inspections are carried out to
investigate a complaint. Revisits may be necessary to check the
completion of works and give advice.
Officers will ensure that safe and healthy working conditions
are provided for all employees, the self-employed and members of
the public visiting these premises. Inspections are carried out on
a routine basis without prior notification and the high risk
premises are visited more frequently.
During an inspection, Officers will need to be satisfied that
any risks to peoples' health, safety and welfare, in connection
with a work activity have been identified and controls are in place
to minimise the risk. They will look at the level of training in
health and safety that managers and employees have received to
ensure that it is adequate. Checks will also be made on the
structure of the premises and that plant or equipment used in that
workplace is safe. Where work practices or conditions fail to meet
legal standards, instructions will be given in a report, if however
the risk of personal injury to employees or visitors is great, then
officers will resort to formal action. This could involve either
the service of notices and/or prosecution.
Contact us for further information or
advice relating to health and safety inspections.