Safety and health inspector
As a health inspector, you will make sure that employers adhere to all safety laws. You’ll also ensure that workplaces don’t cause injury, death, or ill-health.
This includes inspecting and advising employers, investigating accidents, and enforcement of the law.
Health and safety inspectors are primarily employed by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), but you could also work for local authorities and large organizations. You could work for a large team or be a specialist in one particular area like construction or hazardous goods.
Although your health inspection activities will vary depending on where you live and the specialty of your work, there are some things that you should do:
- Inspect industrial and commercial buildings to verify processes and procedures. This will ensure that safety and good health practices are followed.
- Investigate complaints and accidents to determine if there have been any violations of the health and safety laws
- Conduct inspections of machinery, structures, and working environments. Measure noise, heat, vibrations and take photos.
- Workers should be provided with appropriate protective equipment such as eye protection, ear protectors and gloves.
- Take precautions to prevent industrial diseases
- Consider the safety of working in potentially dangerous environments and with harmful substances.
- Stay current with all the latest legislation, safety and health standards
- Stay up to date with developments in particular sectors, such construction and agriculture.
- Expert advice on health and safety for businesses and organizations.
- To resolve potential conflicts between safety concerns and production/profit, negotiate with operators and managers
- Prepare detailed paperwork and reports on inspections and investigations.
- Determine the time for action, i.e. Notifications or prosecution may be required. Collect and present appropriate evidence
- Implement safety-related strategies and programs
- Use historical data and experience to develop methods for predicting possible hazards.
- Prepare for and present court cases if you are asked to (this is different in Scotland law).
- Offer training and education support to employers as well as new or trainee employees.
- Start salaries for trainee inspectors are around PS26,000. The starting salary for HSE trainee inspectors is PS31663, which rises to PS40178 after two years of training. London weightings of PS4,378 are available.
- A health and safety inspector who has completed training and has around three to five year’s experience can earn between PS35,000 and PS50,000.
- Specialist roles at the senior level can lead to salaries of up to PS90,000.
- Salaries are determined by the individual organisation, the area of specialism and the level of responsibility.
- The income figures are meant to be used as a guide.
- Normal working hours are Monday to Friday 9am-5:30pm. In the case of serious accidents or incidents, it may also be possible to work on weekends and evenings.
- Although job-sharing, part-time work, and career breaks are common, it’s important to be up-to-date with the latest health and safety laws, regulations, and specialist areas.
What to Expect
- Although most of the work is performed in an office setting, much time is spent touring workplaces. These may be indoors or outdoors.
- Work environments can be dangerous because of the noise, dirt, smell, stress, and danger. Protective clothing may also be necessary.
- It is possible to self-employed or work freelance. You may be able to work as an occupational health consultant, providing advice or lecturing.
- Opportunities are available in many large cities and towns across the country.
While flexible hours are possible, travel is common. You may travel often during your working day, and you might be away from home at night. Although it is rare to travel internationally, this will depend on the location you work.
Any discipline graduate can apply for this job, but you may be able to get ahead of your peers if you have a degree from one of these subjects:
- Engineering, including electronic/electrical, mechanical and environmental
- Environmental health
- Food technology
- Physical and applied sciences
It will depend on what area of safety and health you wish to work in, which subject matter is considered relevant. Nuclear inspectors will require a degree in engineering or scientific science, while food industry inspectors will need to have a qualification.
A relevant first degree must be followed by a postgraduate qualification. You also need to have relevant work experience. A minimum grade C or equivalent in English and maths is necessary.
This profession can be entered with a HND and two years experience in a related profession. An equivalent professional qualification is helpful. Without a degree or HND, entry is not possible.