In addition to the routine inspection and advisory work we carry out, we also investigate workplace accidents and complaints relating to workplaces or work activities for which we have enforcement responsibility - e.g. shops, warehouses, offices, hotels and catering, sports, leisure, consumer services, (e.g. launderettes, hairdressers, undertakers, shoe repair, tyre and exhaust fitters), residential care homes and churches.
Accidents occur for a number of reasons, and valuable lessons can be learnt by looking at the circumstances surrounding them.
Employers and self employed persons have a duty under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases & Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013 (RIDDOR) to report certain types of accident and cases of ill-health to their enforcing authority.
We examine all RIDDOR reports we receive and decide whether or not an investigation should be made, based on the information contained in the report.
We investigate incidents in order to:
- Identify what happened
- Try and prevent it from happening again
- Identify whether it was foreseeable
- Establish whether anyone had failed in their duty
When investigating incidents we may:
- Telephone or write to an employer seeking further information on the incident and details of what has been done to prevent similar accidents from happening.
- Visit and inspect the workplace.
- Examine company safety documentation (e.g. safety policy, risk assessments, etc) and any records or reports which relate to the incident.
- Speak to any witnesses.
- Speak to safety representatives, managers, contractors, supplier
- Take photographs or measurements or take copies of relevant documentation.
- Take statements or ask individuals questions in private.
- Visit an injured person or witness at home if they are not at work.
We also investigate complaints from employees, members of the public and other persons regarding health, safety or welfare issues in workplaces or work activities for which we have enforcement responsibility.
We would encourage employees to raise any concerns with their employer (either directly, or through a safety representative or other employee representative if you have one) before contacting us. This gives your employer a reasonable opportunity to address your concerns before we become involved.
We will respond to all complaints about health and safety matters and it is our policy to keep the source of a complaint confidential. (There may be situations where this is not possible, but the inspector will discuss this matter with the complainant beforehand, providing we have relevant contact details).
On completion of any investigation, we may take one or more of the following courses of action:
- Give written or verbal advice on measures required to remedy any contraventions found
- Serve one or more Improvement or Prohibition Notices (in some cases this action be taken at an early stage in the investigation where an unsafe condition is readily apparent or the necessary remedial measures are identified at an early stage)
- Prosecute a company and/or individual where serious failings are identified
- Offer a Formal Caution as an alternative to prosecution in certain situations