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Inspection of businesses


We regulate health and safety standards in certain types of premises to prevent people being killed, injured or made ill at work.

These include:

  • offices
  • retail or wholesale shops
  • warehouses
  • hotels
  • caterers
  • sport and leisure activities
  • consumer services (e.g. launderettes, hairdressers and undertakers) 
  • residential care homes
  • places of worship (e.g. churches)
  • pre-school child care
  • mobile vending        

We aim to ensure that safe and healthy working conditions are provided for all employees, the self-employed and members of the public visiting these premises. Generally planned inspections are carried out in only the highest risk businesses, and in most circumstances they are carried out without prior notification to the business operator. 

However other types of visits are also carried out in the following circumstances:

  • to provide advice, at the request of the business
  • to gather information about and provide advice to new businesses, or businesses that were previously unknown to us
  • to investigate complaints about health and safety relating to a business activity 
  • as part of our health and safety intervention programme that focuses on specific local or national issues 
  • as part of an investigation into an accident, dangerous occurrence or a case of industrial disease
  • as part of a survey or special initiative.          

During an inspection, we will check that any hazards which arise out of or in connection with work have been identified, and the associated risks adequately controlled. We will look at the level of health and safety training of managers and employees to ensure that it is suitable. Checks will also be made on the adequacy of structural and environmental conditions and that plant and equipment are safe.

We only visit and inspect businesses within County Durham, for which we have enforcement responsibility (see list above).

The HSE is the enforcing authority at, amongst others:

  • nursing homes
  • factories and other manufacturers
  • car repair workshops
  • construction activities
  • council premises

What you can do

You can request a visit, or make complaint by contacting us.

What we can do

Where work practices or conditions fall short of what is regarded as satisfactory we will take action to resolve the situation in accordance with our Enforcement Policy.

What happens next

We aim to respond to complaints and requests for service within three working days.

Contact us
Safety and Occupational Health
03000 261 016
Our address is:
  • Durham County Council
  • Environment, Health and Consumer Protect
  • PO Box 617
  • Durham
  • County Durham
  • United Kingdom
  • DH1 9HZ
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