What to Do if an HSE Inspector Calls…

Dale Smith

Dale Smith

blog-publish-date

26 Apr 2019

blog-read-duration

The only way to protect your business from an HSE inspection is to make sure you comply with HSE laws at all time…

HSE inspections are on the increase. In 2017/2018, HSE inspectors fined businesses £72.6 million for breaking health & safety laws. They issued 3,883 prohibition notices. And they carried out 517 prosecutions, with 7% of offences resulting in immediate custodial sentences

Remember, even if an inspector visits, prosecution is the worst case scenario. But just in case you do get a knock at the door, here’s what to expect when the HSE inspector calls.

What to expect when the inspector calls

Why has the HSE knocked at my door?

The HSE inspects businesses working in high-risk industries. So if you have not had a visit for a while, don’t be surprised if the HSE wants to take a look around.

This could be due to a previous incident, an issue raised by a worker, or a report of a serious injury on your site.

What are they looking for?

The inspector will want to check that you are keeping your staff, your customers and members of the public (MOPs) safe. They’ll also review if your business is in line with statutory instruments and laws.

The inspector will ask about the health & safety issues affecting your business and what you’re doing to reduce risk. They may want to look around your site and inspect aspects of your work, too.

If they are investigating an incident, the inspector will want you to describe what happened and what processes you had in place. They’ll look at your accident investigation report and any CCTV or photographs that may have been taken. They’ll also speak to your staff or read their witness statements.

What will happen next?

Immediately after the visit, the inspector might offer you written or verbal advice on how to improve safety at work. Or they could issue you with a notification of contravention, which means you’ve broken a law.  

The inspector may then give you an improvement notice. This will give you at least 21 days to correct the issue.

For more serious offences, an inspector may issue a prohibition notice. This forces you to stop any activities deemed dangerous, immediately. They can also seize items and equipment as evidence.

Finally, the inspector can prosecute you. You may be taken to court and issued a fine or given a prison sentence.

How much will it cost me?

If the inspector gives you a notice of contravention, you will have to pay HSE expenses for the investigation. This is called a fee for intervention (FFI).

FFI is an hourly charge of £154. You must pay it within 30 days of receiving an invoice. You’ll also have to pay FFI if the HSE gives you a notice of improvement or prohibition.

The fines for prosecution depend on the offence you have committed. For example, in 2018 the average fine for breaking The Control of Major Accident Hazards Regulations 1999 was £846,250.

Of course, the total impact on a business can be much greater. An improvement notice can force you to make high-cost changes in a short space of time. A prohibition notice can shut your business down or lead to disqualification of being a director for a set period of time.

Even minor breaches have lasting damage. The HSE will register an enforcement notice against your business for 10 years. This can make it hard to get work with new clients and almost impossible to bid for public sector contracts.

How can I protect my business?

As always, prevention is better than the cure. My team offers complete health & safety support to make sure businesses meet HSE laws.

Plus, if the worst does happen and the HSE prosecutes you, we even offer legal expenses insurance to cover the costs for fully subscribed clients.

Speak to an expert

Give one of our friendly health & safety experts a call today and find out how we support your business to stay safe and successful. Call 01455 858 132 or request a callback.

About the Author

Dale Smith

Dale is an experienced Health and Safety Practitioner having started his career in the logistics sector back in 2004.

Dale has been a Health and Safety Consultant for the past 4 years and recently joined Croner as a Senior Consultant.

He has been a Chartered Member of IOSH since 2014 and has completed the NEBOSH National Diploma, IEMA Certificate in Environmental Management, The Management of Pre-Construction Health and Safety (APS), Scaffold Inspection (NASC), CSCS Card (Professionally Qualified Person), Asbestos Awareness (UKATA) and Advanced Fire Risk Assessor (FPA).

Free to Download Employer Resources

  • Holiday Request Refusal Letter

    FREE DOWNLOAD

    Holiday Request Refusal Letter

    Read more
  • Letter Informing Employee they are to be Dismissed for Gross Misconduct

    FREE DOWNLOAD

    Letter Informing Employee they are to...

    Read more
  • Letter Informing Employee they are to be Laid Off

    FREE DOWNLOAD

    Letter Informing Employee they are to...

    Read more
  • Reasonable Adjustments: An Employer’s Guide

    BLOG

    Reasonable Adjustments: An Employer’s...

    The Equality Act 2010 defines disability as any ‘long-term’ or ‘substantial’ phy...

    Read more
  •  Statutory Notice Period: Employer's Guide

    BLOG

    Statutory Notice Period: Employer's ...

    Every business has a standard which they expect their employees to meet. If they...

    Read more
  • Cigarette Breaks: Should You Provide Them?

    BLOG

    Cigarette Breaks: Should You Provide ...

    Employees are not automatically entitled to take additional breaks to smoke duri...

    Read more
  • Syalons

    CASE STUDY

    Syalons

    International Syalons is a manufacturer of advanced ceramics, working for variou...

    Read more
  • Pangea Support

    CASE STUDY

    Pangea Support

    We see Croner being integral to our organisation moving forward, and we’d defini

    Read more
  • JC Couriers

    CASE STUDY

    JC Couriers

    With Croner it genuinely feels like they want me to be a success. And I'm happy

    Read more

Ready to focus on what you do best?

Get your free consultation and speak to an expert today.