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Health and safety inspectors are responsible for monitoring and improving the health and safety of employees and the general public within public and private organisations.
Health and safety inspectors are employed by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) or by local authorities to monitor, maintain and protect health and safety standards in accordance with current legislation. A large amount of time is spent visiting properties such as factories, farms, offices, schools, quarries and shops, where premises, equipment and procedures are checked for compliance with health and safety legislation. Responsibilities of the job include:
investigating accidents, complaints and cases of ill-health
serving legal notices
recording infringements of the law
providing advice and recommendations
gathering and preparing legal evidence
providing prosecution evidence in court
The job can require working in polluted, noisy, filthy or dangerous conditions and involves enforcing legislation.
Qualifications and training required
To become a health and safety inspector it is normally necessary to have a degree. Inspectors begin as trainees on a vocational three-year training programme with HSE, during which time a diploma in occupational health and safety is obtained. To be accepted onto the trainee programme, an appropriate degree such as environmental health, science or engineering is preferred. Postgraduate qualification and/or work experience may be required for some specialist positions.
Key skills for health and safety inspectors
Employers seek graduates who are calm, assertive and resilient, with excellent communication, teamworking and interpersonal skills. Candidates must be capable of acquiring and retaining detailed legal, technical and commercial information.