H&S Rights of Entry to Low Risk Businesses
The H&S Executive has the right to demand entry to a business premises, with no notice required, even if that company has been previously checked and found to be low risk. There should be no reason why a H&S visit cannnot be by appointment at, for example, 24 hours notice, to a company which has been visited previously and clearly constitutes a low risk. There must be many well run small companies where the risk is almost non-existant, and is known to be as such, where an agressive, demanded entry is completely out of order.
Our last visit/forced entry was in the afternoon of the last shipping day of the month, during the worst recession for 60+ years – where the official demanded that we drop everything in order that he could delve into every record and process, and proceeded to become very agressive when he was asked why an appointment could not have been made. The worst accident we have suffered during the last 10 years has been a screwdriver stab on a finger. The only thing he found was a 2 year old compressor which was 2 months out of date for inspection.
Why does this idea matter?
Small companies do not have dedicated H&S Managers. Even in the best run of these it can take hours of review to reacquaint oneself with a companies full current H&S procedure and record keeping. With the current system a company can only be partially prepared and can appear disorganized, with poor processes and records, even though that may not be the true status. There are definate advantages to good preparation – no confrontation, an undistorted view of a company's procedures, better use of H&S Executive time as positive advisors, rather than negative and agressive attackers.