university of essex

Health and Safety Inspection: all areas (.doc) Updated August 2015
Health and Safety Inspection: all areas (.pdf)
Updated August 2015
Health and Safety Inspection: higher risk areas (.doc)
Health and Safety Inspection Checklist: higher risk areas (.pdf)
Inspection action plan (.doc)
Advice and assistance
HSLO/DHSO/DSE Facilitators
Safety Representatives

Health and Safety Inspection

The law requires that the University has arrangements in place for monitoring health and safety. This includes routine inspections to check that health and safety standards are being followed and are effective at controlling health and safety risks and meeting legal requirements.

Inspections also provide an opportunity for managers to proactively demonstrate their commitment to achieving a safe and healthy workplace.

This site includes checklists to help you carry out physical inspections and check that appropriate health and safety records are in place and up to date.

Note: The health and safety inspection checklists were updated in August 2013

How often should inspections be carried out?

Inspections should normally be carried out at least annually.

However the actual frequency of inspection should be determined by the risk profile of the Department and the outcome of previous inspections. In some cases more frequent inspections may be necessary.

Where a department wants to carry out inspections at a frequency of less than every twelve months, the Head of Department should submit their justification, based on a risk assessment, to the Health and Safety Group for approval.

NOTE: The carrying out of an annual inspection and completion of an inspection action plan within the academic year is a health and safety key performance indicator (KPI). Faculty / Professional Services performance is reported to Health and Safety Group, USG and Council as part of the Annual Report on Health and Safety Performance.

The completion of formal health and safety inspections by departments / sections are reported to Executive Deans / The Registrar annually and an interim progress report is also issued 6 monthly. It is therefore important that annual inspections are carried out and action plans submitted to HSAS before the end of July each academic year.

Who should carry out the inspection?

Heads of Department are responsible for ensuring that regular formal health and safety inspections are carried out of the areas under their control.

The task can be delegated to other members of staff, however the outcome should be reported back to them. They should also sign the inspection action plan, although for larger departments it is sufficient for the responsible manager for each area to sign action plans for their area of responsibility.

Who else should attend?

A union appointed safety representative should be invited to join the inspection team. To arrange this Heads of Department (or the person delegated responsibility for arranging the inspection) should advise the lead health and safety representatives of the three Trade Unions (UCU, Unite and Unison) at least two weeks before the proposed inspection date, so that they can agree which representative will join the inspection team. Follow the link on the right hand side of this page to find out how to contact them.

You may also wish to invite your HSAS lead health and safety adviser to accompany you. We strongly recommend that you do so if it is your first inspection or you are responsible for high risk areas. The adviser will also be able to give guidance on what to look for when carrying out inspections.

What records are needed?

The outcome of health and safety inspections must be recorded, along with responsibilities and timescales for action.

You will find the following inspection checklists on this site:

Health and safety inspection: all areas (.doc) - Covers offices and similar low risk areas.

Health and safety inspection: higher risk areas (.doc) - Additional checklist covering higher risk activities.

Each checklist contains the following:

You are welcome to adapt the checklists to meet your needs.

Who needs to see the outcome of the inspection?

The action plans should be signed by the responsible manager (e.g. head of department or section). A copy of the action plan should then be sent to the Union representative and HSAS within  2 months of the inspection date. For academic departments a copy should also be sent to the Faculty Manager.

Once HSAS receives the action plan, the Department / Section will be recorded as having complied with the inspection KPI.

Is an inspection the same as an audit?

An inspection is different to an audit. An inspection is generally limited to an examination of physical conditions so that an assessment can be made of basic legal compliance. A health and safety audit involves collecting information about the health and safety management system and making judgements about its adequacy and performance.