A health and safety inspection probably ranks high on the list of events likely to give a company manager sleepless nights - but there is no need to be frightened, according to Simon Longbottom, an inspector with the Health and Safety Executive in his illuminating presentation on what to expect when the inspector calls.
Longbottom started off by describing the powers of the inspector which include being able to enter workplaces at any reasonable time; examine and investigate; direct that things be left undisturbed; take measurements, photographs and samples; take possession or arrange dismantling of anything dangerous; interview and take signed statements; inspect and copy documents; issue improvement and prohibition notices; prosecute individuals and organisations; ask for reasonable facilities and any other necessary power.
He described the different types of inspection from the traditional unannounced blitz to the new approach of single-issue inspections - this year noise has been chosen - and the management audits which large organisations will undergo.
He concluded by taking the problem of asbestos and outlining how a company should go about constructing a health and safety policy with regard to this. A good company policy on this will would ensure that they could comfortably anticipate and deal with the inspector's call.