Health and safety inspectors are responsible for monitoring and improving the health and safety of employees and the general public within public and private organizations.
Working as a health and safety inspector involves protecting people by making sure that risks in the workplace are properly controlled. You will ensure employers comply with all aspects of health and safety laws and that workplaces are not the cause of ill health, injury or death.
Employers of Health and Safety Inspector
Health and safety inspectors are now more common as organizations adopt risk assessment strategies, and some inspectors find opportunities in organizations such as hospitals and large food retailers with responsibility for large teams of staff.
Health and safety inspectors with extensive experience can work for specialist consultancies in areas such as construction health and safety, stress management and safe working at heights. These roles involve consulting with businesses regarding their legal duties and helping them maintain good health and safety standards by carrying out audits, conducting site inspections and providing training.
Health and safety professionals can also be found in the manufacturing, construction, logistics and utilities industries, although job titles and functions may vary.
- visiting business and industrial premises to inspect processes and procedures and ensure good health and safety practice;
- investigating accidents and complaints and determining if there has been a breach of health and safety law;
- carrying out examinations of machinery, working environments and structures, taking measurements of noise, heat, and vibrations, and taking photographs and samples where necessary;
- ensuring workers are provided with suitable protective equipment, such as eye goggles, ear protectors or appropriate types of gloves and clothing;
- investigating precautions taken to prevent industrial diseases;
- investigating procedures for working in hazardous environments or with potentially harmful substances;
- keeping up to date with new legislation and health and safety standards;
- staying informed about developments within particular sectors, e.g. in agricultural or construction settings;
- providing specialist advice and information on health and safety to businesses and organizations and advising on changes required;
- negotiating with managers and operators to try to eliminate possible conflicts between safety considerations and production/profit;
- writing reports on results of inspections and investigations and completing detailed paperwork;
- determining when action, i.e. notices or prosecution, may be necessary and gathering and presenting the appropriate evidence;
- developing health and safety working programmes and strategies;
- developing methods to predict possible hazards drawn from experience, historical data and other appropriate information sources;
- preparing for, and presenting court cases if a decision is made to prosecute (this differs in Scottish law) and also appearing as a witness in court or at an employment tribunal;
- providing training and educational support to employers and new or trainee employees.
Graduates from any discipline can enter this profession, but a degree in one of the following subjects may put you ahead of the competition:
- engineering, including electronic/electrical, mechanical and environmental;
- environmental health;
- food technology;
- physical and applied sciences.
- the ability to acquire an understanding of legal matters and to apply industry legislation and standards;
- an understanding of modern industrial technology;
- practical ability to use instruments of measurement;
- willingness to stay up to date with new developments – change is constant in this profession;
- persuasion and negotiation skills;
- problem-solving skills;
- written communication skills;
- the ability to use discretion and tact;
- confidence and resilience.