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Health and Safety

The Health and Safety Officer's Visit

All workplaces are routinely inspected by Environmental Health Officers (EHO). They have the right to enter and inspect work places at all reasonable hours. They do not have to make an appointment and will usually visit without advance notice. You must not obstruct inspectors. Visits are made to carry out inspections, investigate accidents and investigate complaints. The frequency of inspection depends upon the risks that employees are exposed to and how well the risks are controlled.

Tameside M.B.C.'s enforcement policy can be found at Appendix 1. It outlines the different approaches available to us when considering enforcement action.

The EHO will expect to see all or most of the following documents during an inspection. It is useful if safety documentation is kept separately organised and filed. This shows that consideration has been given to Health and Safety matters which is always good to see!

  • Information for Employees poster or leaflet "Health and Safety Law"
  • Safety Policy
  • Risk Assessment and control measures identified
  • Accident Book and Reporting forms
  • Display Screen Equipment assessment
  • COSHH assessment
  • Work Equipment Maintenance Record
  • Examination reports for all lifting equipment
  • Written examination scheme and inspection records for pressure systems
  • Manual Handling Assessment
  • Electrical Test Certificate (for the installation)
  • Inventory of all portable electrical appliances and details of maintenance checks
  • Gas Systems Inspection reports
  • Noise assessments
  • Training records
  • Internal safety check reports
  • Previous Inspection Reports

Don't be overwhelmed by this list, always remember that:

  1. Not all premises require all of these documents.
  2. If you don't know what you need to do contact the Health and Safety Section on 0161 342 3778 and we will be pleased to help you.
  3. Health and Safety law is there to protect people from injury and illness. We hope that this booklet removes some of the mystique from Health and Safety and that you will find it interesting and of practical help.

Remember, our website is being updated all the time so visit it to pick up additional health and safety information -

What are you entitled to expect from the inspectors

  • A courteous manner
  • To be shown identification
  • Feedback from any inspection, such as information about hazards which have been identified and guidance on how they could be avoided
  • A clear distinction between what the inspector is recommending and what you must do to comply with the law
  • Reasonable time to meet statutory requirements, except where there is an immediate risk to safety
  • To be told the procedures for appealing against local authority action

What powers do inspectors have

  • To enter any premises at any reasonable time
  • To take a police constable with him/her
  • To take with him any other person authorised by the enforcing authority and any equipment or materials required
  • To make examinations and investigation as necessary
  • To direct that a premises or part of it is left undisturbed
  • To take measurements, photographs or records
  • To take samples of articles or substances
  • Dismantle, treat or test any article or substances likely to cause danger to health and safety
  • Take possession of an article or substance likely to cause danger
  • Require any person to answer and sign a declaration of truth
  • Require the production of, inspect and take copies of any books or documents
  • Require such facilities or assistance as necessary
  • Exercise any other power necessary to carry out his responsibilities

After an inspection

The action that the EHO decides upon depends on the nature of the breach detected and the officer will also consider the past history of the premises. The options available include:-


Where the breach of the law is relatively minor, the inspector may tell the employer what to do to comply with the law and explain why. The EHO will, if asked, write to confirm any advice, and to distinguish legal requirements from best practice advice.

Improvement Notice

Where the breach of the law is more serious, the EHO may issue an improvement notice to tell the employer to do something to comply with the law. The notice will say what needs to be done, why and by when. The length of time given to comply with the notice will be at least 21 days to allow adequate time to appeal to an industrial tribunal.

Prohibition Notice

Where an activity involves, or will involve, a serious personal injury, the inspector may serve a prohibition notice prohibiting the activity immediately or after a specified time period, and not allowing it to be resumed until remedial action has been taken. The notice will explain why the action is necessary. Th employer will be advised of the right of appeal in writing.


In some cases the officer may consider that it is also necessary to initiate a prosecution. Decisions on whether to prosecute are informed by the principles in HSC's Enforcement Policy Statement. Health and Safety law gives the courts considerable scope for punishing offenders and deterring others. For example, a failure to comply with an improvement or prohibition order carries a fine of up to £20,000 or six months imprisonment, or both. Unlimited fines and in some cases imprisonment may be imposed by higher courts.

What do you think of these webpages?

We are very keen to hear your views on these webpages and the Enforcement Policy it contains. If you have any comments or suggestions please telephone us, or send them to the address below. Please contact us if you would like copies of the paper version of these webpages.

Contact Information
Contact by Post

Environmental Safety and Hygiene
Tame Street Depot
Tame Street
SK15 1ST
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