School of Engineering and Informatics (for staff and students)

Health and Safety inspections

The School of Engineering and Informatics has set out to instigate a schedule of regular internal workplace HSE inspections.

This is standard practice in industry, and highlights the responsibility for checking that risk control measures in place are effective and sufficient as belonging to those actually managing or running spaces/activities.  Yearly externally-conducted HSE inspections (arranged by the University central Health & Safety Office) can only be an audit measure, to support the active regular internal procedures.

External HSE inspections are conducted by a qualified Health & Safety professional from outside the unit being inspected.

External inspections are intended to function as a check on the local health & safety arrangements. The report following the inspection may list a number of recommendations for improving on current practice.

Due diligence
External inspections are not viewed by the law as part of core risk control measures, and as such are not admissible as evidence of due diligence being exercised by the organisation.

Evidence of due diligence would comprise of:

  • records of regular internal HSE inspections
  • a comprehensive set of Risk Assessments
  • evidence of the recommended measures being carried out

Who needs to participate in external HSE inspections

  • External inspector
    At the University of Sussex, external HSE inspections are conducted by members of the Quality, Safety, Health and Environment (QSHE) team within Sussex Estates and Facilities (SEF).
  • The Head of the Unit
    The Head of the Unit being inspected is expected to attend, as the person with the responsibility for the Health & Safety of their area.
  • Deputy
    If the Head of the Unit has delegated some of the day-to-day tasks (e.g. carrying out the internal HSE inspections), the deputy would benefit from being involved in the external inspections also.
  • Health & Safety Co-ordinator(s), the Head of School, School Administrator, and a representative of the Union are also invited to the external inspections.  Their attendance is optional.

External inspections in Engineering & Informatics are carried out once a year for the higher-risk areas, and less frequently for areas of lower risk.


Internal HSE workplace inspections

External HSE workplace inspections

By whom

Conducted by the unit’s manager or their nominee

Conducted by an external inspector (under current arrangements, a member of the QSHE team from SEF)

Legal aspect

Records of regular inspections by manager or deputy are viewed by law as evidence of risk control measures

External inspection reports are not admissible as evidence of adequate risk control measures for a unit in case of a law suit


Conducted at a frequency determined by the unit manager as sufficient for ensuring health & safety, dependent on the risk in each area (commonly once a month, more often for higher-risk areas)

Conducted once a year for higher-risk spaces in EngInf, less frequently for lower-risk


Each unit is expected to use its own checklist, tailored to the risks in the area and activities undertaken.

Construct your own checklist, or use the suggested template on School website as a starting point:
see 'Checklist template and worked examples' tab below

The inspector from QSHE uses their own template for all spaces across the School.

Distribution of the report

The manager/nominee carry out the HSE inspection, and forward a copy of the report to the School HSE Co-ordinators (Marc Williams & Margarita Steinberg) for the central records.

The inspector from QSHE forwards their report to the manager of the area/unit and HSE Co-ordinators for the School.

Responsibility for follow-up

Responsibility for ensuring that identified follow-up actions are completed rests with the area/unit manager.

Responsibility for ensuring that the recommended actions are completed rests with the area/unit manager, unless specified otherwise.

Central records

EngInf School keeps a central tracking document of local internal HSE inspections, and also a repository of e-copies of local inspection reports.

EngInf School keeps a central record of reports from all externally-held HSE inspections. Recommended follow-up actions are tracked.


The template checklist below is meant to serve as a starting point for your own customised checklist for your regular internal inspections.
This template includes some optional sections (covering PC workstations and standard workshop equipment) - please remove if not applicable.

Designing appropriate checks for each specific area is the responsibility of the area supervisor.  To assist them, review of the checklist will be included in the external HSE inspections by the Health & Safety Office over the next cycle.

Checklist template

Workplace HSE inspection TEMPLATE checklist [DOC 166.50KB]

Worked examples from the School

Internal HSE inspection report for Interact Lab EngInf May 2016 [DOCX 44.21KB]

Internal HSE inspection report - WORKED EXAMPLE - TFMRC June 2016 [DOC 162.00KB]

  • How often written inspections are undertaken is expected to reflect the level of risk inherent in the space/activities you are currently supervising.
  • It is advisable to state the reasons for your choice of frequency of inspections in your documentation - or on the first inspection form, if you are at the start point of keeping written records.
  • Written inspections are the record of the manager of the space exercising due dilligence, which is the standard expected by the law.
    Unrecorded, visual-only inspections cannot be used as evidence in case of claims, and nor can yearly audits by external consultants (e.g. the Health & Safety Office in SEF).

You need to keep the originals of your internal HSE reports in an accessible manner, so that you can refer to them as necessary.

Central repository

The School maintains a central repository for the Internal HSE inspection reports.

Please contact David Tucker or the School Office for further details.

The University central Health and Safety Office run regular training courses on conducting HSE Workplace Inspections (2 hour training session). 

If you feel that you, or someone in your area, need additional training to enable you to conduct inspections in your area, please check Sussex Direct for the next course date.

Legislation on health and safety in Great Britain is informed primarily by the Health and Safety at Work etc Act of 1974.  This framework has helped make Britain one of the safest places in the world to work, saving thousands of lives, preventing many more injuries at work and reducing the economic and social costs of health and safety failures.

HSWA - Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974

Health and safety legislation - laws in the workplace

Organisations are expected to be able to demonstrate the processes they are using for risk control, which means you would need to keep records of checks and the remedial measures implemented where needed.
This becomes particularly relevant if a case is brought against an organisation, who would need to demonstrate due diligence.

The website of the Health and Safety Executive can act as a pointer to further information, if you wish to look into the legislation further.
One place to start is the HSE FAQ page.




School of Engineering and Informatics (for staff and students)

School Office:
School of Engineering and Informatics, University of Sussex, Chichester 1 Room 002, Falmer, Brighton, BN1 9QJ
T 01273 (67) 8195

School Office opening hours: School Office open Monday – Friday 09:00-15:00, phone lines open Monday-Friday 09:00-17:00
School Office location [PDF 1.74MB]