How an Inspection Works

Apart from checking the safety statement, the Authority inspectors are also seeking to find out, the extent to which employers, directors and senior managers are aware of their safety and health responsibilities. Inspectors are asking the person in charge in the workplace at the time of the inspection, some key questions about the extent of their knowledge on their responsibilities and how they are implementing them i.e. how are they ensuring they will not be subject to a Section 80 offence.

During an inspection the HSA Inspector endeavours to meet the most senior person in charge in the workplace and outlines the nature of the inspection. The Inspector will also seek to meet the Safety and Health Manager/Adviser and the Safety Representative, where they are in place.  Following the formal introductions the inspection will firstly review relevant safety and health documentation including the Safety Statement and/or the safety and health plan as appropriate.

Workplace Inspection

A workplace inspection follows a sampling approach, covering the key risks as identified in the Safety Statement and other safety and health documentation. The Inspector needs to establish the adequacy of the control measures in place for these risks.

Awareness and implementation of senior managers’ responsibilities is judged by Inspectors based on compliance with the advice given in the Authority publications and guidance. The extent to which the guidance is used is determined by:

  • The adequacy of safety and health documentation prepared and in use, e.g. whether a Safety Statement or other relevant safety and health documentation are prepared, are available for inspection at the workplace or in the vehicle or boat, their adequacy etc.
  • How well developed the safety and health management system is at the workplace
  • How the inspection went, the nature of the risks found, the extent of their control or lack of control observed during the inspection.

The view an Inspector may form as to the extent of management compliance with their duties under the 2005 Act and other relevant legislation, will primarily come from the examination of the Safety Statement and the assessment of the extent to which it is being implemented on the ground. The response the Inspector receives to the safety and health management questions posed will confirm their assessment.

The Inspectors questioning will be tailored to suit the size and complexity of the organisation and the prevailing workplace circumstances. The questions will also be tailored to apply to the person being interviewed, the level of the organisation they are at and what health and safety responsibilities they have. The Inspector will need answers to questions covering the key aspects of workplace safety and health management e.g. on how adequate the safety and health organisation is in the company and the extent of safety and health monitoring and auditing being carried out by the company to ensure it complies with the 2005 Act and other relevant legislation which may apply.

Dangerous Goods Roadside Inspections

For road side inspections e.g. under the ADR Transport of Dangerous Goods by Road or for Work Related Transport road inspections, the driver of the vehicle is required to have the appropriate documentation on the vehicle or be able to refer to where the documentation is available back at the vehicle's base. As above, any written reports, fixed penalty or other enforcement notices will be given to the driver and copied to the duty holder's registered office. Following such a road side inspection, a follow up inspection may need to be carried out at the depot/base where the truck or vehicle came from and senior managers at that base may need to be interviewed.

Close out of Inspection

A close out meeting is normally held with the most senior person in charge on the day, preferably the MD/CEO, Company Director or other responsible senior manager in order to give a verbal or written report of the inspection. The Inspector may also need to explain and serve Enforcement Notices on the employer or other duty holder. At this meeting the Inspector also reviews with the senior manager his/her level of awareness of legal responsibilities under the 2005 Act and the level of their implementation of these responsibilities.