The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) inspects farms because risk in the farming workplace is often poorly managed. This unfortunately means that agriculture has persistently high death, injury and ill-health rates compared with other industries.

HSE inspections will usually focus on the main causes of fatal accidents in the farm workplace which are:

  • workplace transport
  • falling objects
  • falls from height
  • machinery and maintenance on moving equipment
  • livestock handling

The HSE don’t always tell people they’re coming, and they may arrive without warning.

During the visit

The inspector will look at how you keep your workers, and anyone who may be affected by your work activities, healthy and safe. They may also give you advice on health and safety or make sure you are providing suitable welfare facilities, such as running hot and cold water and toilets.

While the inspector is with you, they may:

  • ask you about your workers and what they do 
  • look at any possible health risks arising from the work you are doing 
  • look at any machinery or other equipment that you have
  • ask to see records or other documents
  • take photographs

The inspector will want to know about: 

  • the main health and safety issues in your workplace 
  • your own knowledge or experience of health and safety 

The inspector may also talk to you about things like safety standards, guidance and everyday practices in your industry.

Your workers

The inspector will need to talk to your employees or their representatives during the visit.

What if there’s something wrong?

The inspector may take action if they find you’re breaking the law during the visit. They may also tell you to stop a dangerous activity in your workplace immediately. For example, a dangerous activity could be people working on a roof where scaffolding is unsafe.

After the visit

After the inspector has finished looking round your workplace, they might: 

  • offer advice (either verbal or in writing) 
  • give you a notification of contravention 
  • give you an improvement notice 
  • give you a prohibition notice 
  • prosecute you for breaching health and safety laws

Recovering costs

If the HSE give you a notification of contravention you will have to pay a fee. This includes the costs for the time of the entire original visit, plus any additional costs such as time preparing reports, getting specialist advice, or talking to you after the visit (currently £163 per hour).

For help and advice on making your farm a safer place, please contact our Health & Safety department on 01981 590514.

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