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Health and Safety FAQ

Yes to all businesses, however small; also to the self-employed and to employees.
If you are a new business you will need to register either with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) or your Local Authority - depending on the sort of business you have.
Inspectors from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) or your local authority. Generally HSE enforces safety at factories, farms and building sites; local authorities in offices, shops, hotels and catering, and leisure activities.
If you are uncertain whether you need to register or notify HSE or your local authority about the type of work you are doing, contact Prime Safety Managment on 0161 338 5947 or the Environmental Health Department of your Local Authority.
A health and safety inspector may visit any workplace, any time, with or without giving notice. Often inspections are routine and you will be notified before hand (an awareness or workplace contact officer may also visit to give help and advice) but you do need to know how to be prepared and what to expect.
They visit workplaces to check that people are sticking to the rules. They investigate some accidents and complaints but mainly they help you to understand what you need to do. Inspectors check you comply with the law and help you meet your legal duties. They will give advice on specific hazards, answer technical questions and generally advise.

The inspector will inspect the workplace and the work activities, check you have a valid Employers’ Liability insurance certificate and check you have adequate welfare facilities for eating, resting and sanitation. In addition the inspector will look at your management of health and safety and whether you are complying with the law. They may speak in private with your employees or their representatives (e.g. fire safety officers).
Your health and safety policy Risk assessments Records of equipment inspections which are required by law (including lifting equipment, pressurised systems or local exhaust ventilation to control exposure to substances used at work.) Any written safe working methods Any records of health and safety training carried out A valid Employers’ Liability insurance certificate.
Inspectors can visit any time. Whatever the reason for a visit inspectors have authority to: Examine and investigate, take measurements, samples and photographs. Take possession of an article and arrange for it to be tested or dismantled. Seize and make safe anything that could cause serious personal injury.

Request information and take statements Depending on what the inspector finds - if they think you are breaking the law or your activities pose a serious risk - they can either issue an informal warning, verbally or in writing, issue and improvement notice or prohibition notice, or even prosecute the company or individuals.
Health and safety awareness offices (often known as workplace contact officers) also visit and are specially trained to support and give advice, information and guidance. They do not visit without consent, but do have certain powers.
You will be told what the problem is and how to fix it so you comply with the law. You could be issued an informal warning, an improvement notice or prohibition notice. In serious cases you may be prosecuted. H&S awareness offices may support you and give advice and help.

You may be given a brief report, or they may follow up any verbal advice in writing. Understand the difference between legal requirements (which you must follow) and best practice (which is for guidance). You are not obliged to follow inspection advice, but do legally have to adhere to an improvement notice or prohibition notice.
If you have been issued with an improvement notice, it means you are probably breaking H&S law and there may be a serious risk to people. The improvement notice will: Specify the breach of law Say what needs to be done and why Give you a period of time in which to comply.( minimum 21 days) You can appeal if you think the notice is unfair and will be given advice on this.

Discuss the notice with the officer who visited. You may feel you need longer to comply. Remember if you as a director or manager are in breach you could be held accountable in court.
Prohibition notices are very serious. It means there is a risk of serious personal injury. If you get an H&S prohibition notice you will normally have to stop that activity immediately otherwise you will be prosecuted. The notice will explain what the risk is and probably whether a law is being breached and what you need to do to reduce or control the risk.

If you need can’t find an answer to your query please contact us and we will assist.

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