HSfB Blog

Audit text and magnifying glass

This article quite simply aims to share some of my own auditing experiences as an health and safety professional who is fortunate enough to visit and audit some amazing and interesting organisations. I've found that regardless of the industry, the basics of any positive health and safety culture are the same. I've also discovered over the past ten years that many businesses aspiring to achieve 18001 accreditation often think they are a long way off, but in reality they are closer than they think.

I'm confident that reading my articles will give you practical and meaningful advice with real world examples to help provide assurance that an health and safety management system is effective in reality and doesn't just look good on paper. They will also give a good indication of whether or not a management system could meet the requirements of 18001 if that's what your aims are, a gap analysis if you like.

So, whenever I conduct an audit, whether it be an internal 18001 audit or a supplier audit, I look for commitment from leadership...


Inspectors may exercise the powers set out in Section 20 of The HSWA ect.1974

  1. To enter premises, at almost any time, where it is believed that a dangerous state exists. A police officer may be taken along to help gain entry if required
  2. To carry out any necessary investigations and examinations - taking photographs, drawings and measurements of premises or items within them, taking samples of articles/substances and of the atmosphere, etc
  3. To direct that premises (in whole or in part) or items within the premises shall be left undisturbed for as long as required to make specialist examination
  4. To dismantle and/or test any item or substance which they decide is harmful to health
  5. To take statements from persons involved with an incident or accident. Interviewees must answer any questions and sign a statement of their answers, although these are not admissible as evidence in any subsequent proceedings against that person
  6. To inspect any documents, books or records considered relevant to the investigation
  7. To seize and render harmless any articles/substances found to be very dangerous in respect of causing personal injury

Inspectors may exercise the powers set out in Section 21 of The HSWA ect. 1974

If an inspector is of the opinion that a person is contravening one or more of the relevant statutory provisions or has contravened one or more of those provisions in circumstances that make it likely that the contravention will continue or be repeated, an "Improvement Notice" may be served requiring that person to remedy the contravention in a given time scale.

Inspectors may exercise the powers set out in Section 22 of The HSWA ect. 1974

If an inspector is of the opinion that a person carrying out activities will involve a risk of serious personal injury or personal injury is imminent, the inspector may serve a "Prohibition Notice" which will have immediate effect.



When most of us hear of workplace accidents and injuries, we look on from the sidelines with a general 'it will never happen to me' attitude, turning up to work comfortable in the knowledge that our health and safety is being well cared for by the organisation in which we work.

Aside from the fact that many companies have poor safety records and your health and safety may well not be in a 'safe pair of hands', it is also not just the responsibility of your employer or those in charge of health and safety to look after you.

The Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 (HSWA) imposes general duties on employers, the self-employed, controllers of premises, and manufacturers to ensure health, safety and welfare but the final group that makes up this list and the one which many of us do not realise exists is – employees.

From the many convictions and cases that are brought by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), it seems reasonably understood, if not carried through, that the HSWA imposes general duties on all employers and the self-employed to ensure the health and safety of those who may be affected by their business activities. Employers may also be liable for negligent acts committed by fellow employees acting in the course of their employment.

Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

(Elizabeth II 1974. Chapter 37)

This document is published with the consent of the Office of Public Sector Information and remains Crown Copyright.

This page gives up to Section 9 only. The printable and PDF versions below show the full Act.

icon-pdf Printable PDF Version: Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974


1974 CHAPTER 37

An Act to make further provision for securing the health, safety and welfare of persons at work, for protecting others against risks to health or safety in connection with the activities of persons at work, for controlling the keeping and use and preventing the unlawful acquisition, possession and use of dangerous substances, and for controlling certain emissions into the atmosphere; to make further provision with respect to the employment medical advisory service; to amend the law relating to building regulations, and the Building (Scotland) Act 1959; and for connected purposes.


A quick reminder of the Six Pack Regulations for your NEBOSH General Certificate...

Management of Health and Safety at Work Regs 1999 (MHSWR)
Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regs 1992 (WHSWR)
Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992 (DSE Regs)
Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992 (PPE Regs)
Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992 (MHOR)
Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER)

For your interest, the HSE has published a timeline of HSE regulations starting from the 1800s. Check the dates though, some of these regulations have been revoked or revised.


Check this out for a potted guide to the NGC1 Management Paper - LINK.