Health and safety interventions

The primary responsibility for ensuring health and safety in the workplace lies with those who create the risk, and in particular employers need to make suitable and sufficient arrangements for managing health and safety. Currently health and safety enforcement in the United Kingdom is split between Local Authorities and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

Officers within the environmental health team are responsible for enforcing the provisions of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 in approximately 4,000 premises for which the council has enforcement responsibilities. These premises include warehouses, offices, shops, consumer services and residential care homes. The range of activities undertaken by the officers are detailed in our service plan and include:

  • Investigate accidents and seek to prevent recurrences.
  • Visit premises on a routine basis to offer advice on compliance with health and safety legislation. These are carried out on a priority based system. The frequency of our interventions are determined by factors such as the type and size of premises, the work activity and the health and safety compliance history of the premises.
  • Investigate and resolve complaints relating to workplace conditions.
  • Promote health and safety awareness to employers and employees by providing information, advice and participating in national campaigns.
  • Register and licence skin piercing and tattoo establishments
  • Provide advice to workers. Employees who are experiencing health and safety problems at work or who have any concerns or queries may need to discuss their situation with someone outside their workplace. We can provide advice and/or deal with the query as a complaint.

Environmental health officers' aim is to protect the health and safety and welfare of employees and to safeguard others, principally the public, who may be exposed to risks from work activities within your business. 

This is primarily carried out through routine inspection of the workplace. Officers are responsible for the enforcement of health and safety within approximately 4,000 premises in Salford. 

Purpose of health and safety interventions

The primary responsibility for controlling health and safety within the workplace rests with the employer of the business, however, environmental health officers visit various workplaces to check compliance with health and safety legislation and to give advice. 

Planning interventions

The local authority keeps a record of all businesses that fall within their enforcement regime and put together a programme, based on national guidance, to make sure that all high risk premises are inspected. The work of the health and safety enforcement service is coordinated with the other ten Greater Manchester authorities (AGMA). 

Pro-active health and safety interventions are carried out over a ten year programme, in accordance with HSE's Priority Planning Scheme and the HSE National Local Authority Enforcement Code

How resources are targeted

The role of the service is to enforce and advise businesses on the relevant health and safety legislation across the city of Salford.  This is undertaken by using all the four approaches of the 'enforcement mix':

  • Demand: through our response to complaints/requests from both businesses and customers
  • Proactive intervention: by undertaking approximately 500 interventions in accordance with a risk-based approach
  • Education: through information and guidance to businesses via the website or targeted initiatives
  • Intelligence: through our liaison with other authorities and response to requests from the HSE and HSC 

In addition the work of the service in contributing to the HSE strategy for health and safety will be tracked by recording the number of our interventions in several key areas, namely:

And locally determined initiatives, including:

  • Machine guarding in food premises
  • Gas safety in takeaways and small retailers
  • Electrical safety and small retailers
  • Asbestos
  • Accessing stock at height and in confined spaces
  • Beauty 

Frequency of interventions

The frequency of our interventions depends upon a number of factors that look at the risk to consumers. These include:

  • Safety performance: A numerical rating from one (excellent) to six (unacceptable) to indicate the inspector's judgment of the overall level of compliance of safety risks at the workplace. This must be based on a wholescale review of all the findings from an inspection or other significant intervention (the potential of a machine, activity or methods of work, etc, to cause harm).
  • Health performance: A numerical rating from one (excellent) to six (unacceptable), to indicate the inspector's judgment of the overall level of compliance regarding health risks at the workplace in question. This is based on a whole-scale review of all the findings from an inspection or other significant intervention. This relates to both employees and those affected, or potentially affected, by work activities, e.g. members of the public.
  • Welfare provision: A numerical rating, from one (compliant) to four (major non-compliance), to indicate the inspector's judgment of the overall level of compliance regarding welfare standards at the workplace in question based on a review of all the findings from an inspection or other significant intervention.
  • Confidence in management: A numerical rating, from one (best practice) to six (avoiding responsibilities), to indicate an inspector's level of confidence in management's ability to maintain or attain a low level of health and safety risk, at the workplace or in relation to work activities, in the foreseeable future. This relates to both employees and those affected, or potentially affected, by work activities, e.g. members of the public. 

The inspection rating system

  • Enables officers to identify the contributions made by the various risk factors to the overall assessment of the workplace and prioritise business for an inspection or intervention
  • Categorises premises into group A (the highest hazard/risk group), through B1-B2 (medium risk), to C (the lowest hazard/risk) 

Once the category has been determined, following the routine intervention, premises are visited as set out below:

Category

Rating score

Minimum frequency of inspection

A

Score of five or six in any risk

Inspected until no longer A rated

B1

Score of four in any risk

Intervention in accordance with local and national priorities every 18 months

B2

Scores of three in any risk

An intervention in accordance with local and national priorities every three years

C

No score greater than two

Use other non inspection intervention every five years

Business can move between the categories, particularly if conditions improve or deteriorate. 

Inspections

Following a national or local intervention at a premises in the city, the Environmental Health Officer will leave a report with the business detailing any matters/contraventions that require addressing. However, sometimes formal action is required. Formal action is taken in accordance with the council's Environmental Health Enforcement Policy. 

Formal action

When standards are found to be unsatisfactory, improvements are for the most part achieved by provision of advice and information by the inspecting officer. In some cases, however, formal action is required, for example:

  • Service of an improvement notice which requires specified works to be undertaken within a limited time
  • Prohibiting an activity or use of premises until action is completed to remove the risk to health or safety
  • Prosecution where there are serious breaches of the law or an improvement or prohibition notices have not been complied with.

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