Health and safety inspectors make sure that places of work are safe for workers and members of the public.
They inspect machinery, management systems, working methods, and the use and storage of dangerous substances. They check that employers and employees follow health and safety regulations.
You could be:
- inspecting factories and other industrial or commercial premises (except shops), oil rigs, railways, mines, nuclear installations, building sites, hospitals, sports grounds, fairgrounds and agricultural sites
- checking the safety and calculating risk factors of machines, building methods, or the use of chemicals
- taking photos and measuring noise, temperature and vibration levels
- investigating complaints and the causes of accidents, including fatal accidents
- warning employers or managers about bad practices and initiating enforced changes
- if necessary, working with the Police, the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service who decide whether to carry out prosecutions
- writing reports of inspections
- attending a court of law to give evidence
- keeping up to date with new legislation and health and safety standards.
The figures below are only a guide. Actual pay rates may vary, depending on:
- where you work
- the area in which you work
- the demand for the job.
Salaries for trainee health and safety inspectors in the UK start at around £26,500 a year. The starting salary for HSE trainee inspectors on the HSE Regulators' Training Programme (RTP) is £30,288 a year. This rises to £38,325 a year after completion of the programme and promotion to the main grade inspector, which usually takes two years.
With up to 5 years' experience this can rise to £50,000 a year and senior specialists can earn up to around £90,000 a year depending on specialism, location and level of responsibility.
The civil service offers a good pension scheme and additional benefits.
- You would work in an office but spend a lot of time visiting premises and sites or attending court.
- Each year you have a certain number of premises to inspect.
- These may be dirty, noisy or dangerous.
- You may have to work in confined spaces or at heights.
- You would sometimes wear protective clothing.
- You might have to spend overnights away from home.
- In an emergency you may have to work evenings, nights or weekends.
Workforce Employment Status
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- You should have a degree in a relevant subject. Entry with a Higher National Diploma (HND) may be possible if you have at least two years' relevant work experience.
- Relevant subjects include engineering, environmental health, food technology or a physical science subject. For example, a nuclear inspector will need a degree in a scientific or engineering subject, whereas an inspector in the food industry would require a degree in food technology.
- The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) entry requirements for trainees are a minimum 2:1 Honours degree in any subject, or a higher qualification.
- For some specialist posts you need specialised qualifications, for example chartered engineer status.
- Entry to a degree course usually requires 4-5 good Highers.
- You must have National 5 Maths.
- You must meet Civil Service nationality requirements.
- You need a driving licence.
- You will require a satisfactory criminal record check from Disclosure Scotland to show that you are suitable for this type of work. Contact Disclosure Scotland for details on the type you would need.
- You should be fit as you might have to access various parts of workplaces and sites, including at heights or in small spaces.
Health and safety inspectors mainly work for the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). The HSE in Scotland has offices in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen and Inverness. The HSE website has a list of current vacancies.
Workforce Education Levels (UK)
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Job Outlook Scotland
Percentage of workforce registered as unemployed (Scotland)
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Job Outlook Scotland and UK
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What Does it Take?
You should be:
- committed to improving health and safety in the workplace
- observant – to spot safety hazards
- honest, responsible and fair
- tactful, assertive, calm and professional
- accurate – you may need to collect information for use in court
- able to analyse written and numerical data and write clear concise reports
- confident to work alone and make decisions
- able to judge when to consult specialists
- persuasive and able to change peoples' attitudes.
You should have:
- good organisation skills
- good IT skills
- a good memory for legal requirements and technical matters
- excellent communication and negotiation skills.
- All training is in-house by the learning and development section of the HSE.
- New entrants with HSE join as trainee health and safety inspectors, and complete the two year Regulators' Training Programme (RTP). You will learn from and work with experts in the field, and study for the NEBOSH Diploma in Regulatory Occupational Health and Safety.
- Once training is complete, you undertake a third year of training and study for a Postgraduate Diploma in Occupational Health. The diploma covers modules in legal and investigation, safety and risk assessment, occupational health and hygiene and business awareness, people and influencing skills.
- You could gain promotion within the HSE.
- You could become a specialist inspector in, for example: mechanical engineering, control and instrumentation, electrical engineering, fire and explosion, microbiology, process safety and plant integrity, human factors, marine engineering, naval architecture, diving, predictive analysis, risk assessment, explosives, or well engineering.
- You may have to move around the country for promotion.
The following organisations may be able to provide further information.
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