When an inspector calls…

HSE inspectors, who can call at any time. What will they look for? 

Risk assessment. This is not just a list. It needs to include details of what the risk is, why it has been identified as such and the people exposed to it (especially in the elderly and immuno-suppressed, for instance). It must be demonstrably up to date, including changes in your infrastructure – that building modification or new system installation – or the use of the building. It will need to be detailed enough to demonstrate that you, or your team, have really considered the risks, not just gone through the motions. The asset register that goes with it will need to demonstrate an up to date understanding of your premises.

Planned prevention and control of risk:

How have you acted on your risk assessment?  Doing so should involve reviewing infrastructure, and how and when equipment is used and by whom to reduce the risks you’ve identified. Have you looked for and implemented ways to avoid use of systems and work practices which present a foreseeable risk? Does everyone using equipment that could present a risk know what precautions to take and how to use it safely and correctly? Good risk prevention, to ACoP L8 standards, will include thinking through how you will monitor and check control measures, as well as a ‘ready to go’ action plan in case of positive test results?

Record keeping. This is not just about having evidence to defend yourself: it is about having an auditing system that shows up errors and issues in sharp relief as they arise. The list of what you need to record can be long, but once your system is set up, maintaining the log is not onerous.