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What to do if HSE Inspector calls

HSE Inspections

Make sure you are prepared for when an HSE inspector calls at your business.

  • what to expect when they visit your business
  • how to let workers and their representatives know about information an inspector may provide during a visit

I have added a short animation video explaining how inspections are carried out and why they help keep people healthy and safe at work. There is also a useful document to read.

Their job is to keep people safe and healthy at work. They visit thousands of locations every year as part of that job. Your visit is one of many that we do every day. They may have arrived without warning. This isn’t unusual. They don’t always tell people they are coming and the law lets them visit at any reasonable time. Although they have the powers to come into your workplace, the inspectors still have to follow the government’s code of practice on entering homes or businesses.

During the visit the inspector 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.

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

  • offer advice (either verbal or in writing)
  • give you a notification of contravention
  • give you an improvement notice
  • give you a prohibition notice
  • prosecute you for breaching health and safety laws.
Improvement notice will tell you:
  • what’s wrong
  • any changes you need to make to put things right
  • how long you have to make those changes.

They 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 they give you.

Prohibition notice

You may get a prohibition notice if there is a risk of serious personal injury now or in the future. This could be, for example, people working on a roof where scaffolding is unsafe.

A prohibition notice orders you to stop doing something until you have made it safe to continue.

This could be, for example, keeping workers off a roof until you fix any unsafe scaffolding.

You commit a criminal offence if you don’t comply with a prohibition notice.


They 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.

There are currently inspections taking place in the construction and manufacturing sectors. Follow the below links for more information:

Here is the useful document https://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/hsc14.pdf

Here is a youtube video https://youtu.be/uwKr_H25yqA