How do HSE and local authorities decide who to visit?

They do this on the basis of risk. They concentrate their work where the risks are likely to be highest and where it will have the greatest impact, in particular where:

  • They have evidence that health and safety performance is poor – either in your own business or sector, or if the type of work you do shows a high rate of accidents or ill health. Whilst visiting your business the HSE Inspector will concentrate on the risks identified as priorities for national health and safety improvements (for instance falls from height or on the level) because they have the greatest potential to improve health and safety performance nationally.
  • You operate in one of a number of hazardous industries (for example, offshore, nuclear, rail, some chemicals, and explosives). Most of these industries operate under a safety case or licensing regime. This requires them to carry out a prior assessment of a safety case you will have prepared setting out how you have identified and controlled the hazards in your business which could endanger both your workers and\or members of the public. When they visit your business, they are seeking assurance that the various controls, both engineering and organisational, are in place and being operated effectively within a proportionate and positive health and safety culture.
  • They want to investigate a specific incident(accident or work-related illness) or complaint. They concentrate their efforts here on the most severe incidents – those resulting in deaths or major injuries – or those that link to their priorities for national health and safety improvements. Their inspectors’ investigation will seek to find out what went wrong and to learn the lessons both for your business and for others that do similar type of work.