health and safety inspector

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In the UK, health and safety inspectors (previously factory inspectors) are employed by the Health and Safety Executive and are charged with enforcing health and safety law. Inspectors have the right to enter any workplace without giving notice and on a normal inspection will examine the workplace and work activities and the management's health and safety practice to ensure there is compliance with the law. They may also speak to workplace safety representatives. Inspectors offer guidance to employers and may offer informal advice to put right any minor breach of health and safety law. They also have powers to issue an improvement notice to force compliance with the law or a prohibition notice, where there is an immediate threat to safety or health. In serious cases, inspectors can initiate prosecution of employers. If an improvement or prohibition notice is served, the ‘dutyholder’, the manager with formal responsibility for health and safety, has the right to appeal to an Employment Tribunal. Whilst health and safety inspectors have considerable powers, the system of inspection has been criticized by safety campaigners on the grounds that the power of prosecution is used sparingly and that the inspection service is under-resourced. [See environmental health officers.]

Subjects: Human Resource Management.

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