Ealing Council shares enforcement responsibilities for work premises with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and the allocation is governed by the Health and Safety (Enforcing Authority) Regulations 1998. Legal requirements are principally prescribed by the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and its associated legislations, regulations and codes of practice.
The council's health and safety team carry out proactive inspections of specified high-risk premises according to HSE criteria. Reactive inspection visits are carried out following complaints or accident notifications.
During a visit an inspector would expect to:
- look at the workplace
- look at work activities
- look at your management of health and safety
- check that you are complying with health and safety laws
Inspectors have a right to enter any workplace without giving notice, although notice may be given. Certain types of premises are enforced by the HSE, including factories, railways and construction sites. The local authority is responsible for enforcement at other premises, including retail and wholesale shops, warehouses, and sports and leisure clubs.
If problems are identified, inspectors can take enforcement action to protect employees and the public. This can include:
- taking samples and photographs of equipment and inspecting business records
- writing to the proprietor informally, asking them to rectify any problems
- serving an 'improvement notice' if the proprietor is breaking the law, which clearly states what the problem or offence is, what must be done to put it right and the time period for compliance (failure to comply is an offence)
- serving a 'prohibition notice' which forbids the use of premises, work activity or equipment
- recommending a prosecution in serious cases
The health and safety team visit businesses to raise awareness of particular health and safety issues, including falls from height or slips and trips. We also use self assessment questionnaires to better assess the needs of individual businesses.
Further information is available from the health and safety team.