Guide How health and safety is enforced

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3. What happens during a visit?

What happens during a visit depends on why the visit is being made and the type of workplace being visited.

General inspections look at the risk to both employees and the public. As a rule, places with more serious risks, or risks that have been poorly controlled in the past, will be visited more often.

All notifications of accidents, ill health and dangerous occurrences are assessed to see if a visit is needed. We consider the severity of the injury, potential for recurrence, extent of possible breaches of legislation, type of accident, the past record of the business and any remedial action taken to decide if we will visit a premises.

Unannounced inspections are usually made for complaint or accident visits. Where we need to see senior management for routine visits we usually make an appointment. We will probably want to talk to managers, supervisors, employees, health and safety representatives and other interested persons. In addition to looking around your premises, we will examine safety-related paperwork such as:

  • health and safety policy statements
  • written risk assessments
  • plant maintenance and inspection records
  • training records
  • accident and health records

Inspectors are under a legal obligation to tell employees about issues affecting their health, safety or welfare at their workplace. We may do this verbally at the time of visit or by sending a copy of any correspondence to employees representatives.

At the end of the visit the inspector will outline what further action, if any, is going to be taken. In any correspondence we will seek to provide you with useful and relevant advice on what you need to do.