Cooperation between HSE and the Coal Authority

OC 693/7 Version 3

Appendix 2 – Working arrangements for inspections agreed between the Coal Authority and the Health and Safety Executive

Made under the Memorandum of Agreement dated 20 January 2004


  1. The Memorandum of Agreement was made between the Coal Authority ("the Authority") and the Health and Safety Executive ("HSE") in pursuance of the duty placed upon the Authority by section 4(1)(a) of the Coal Industry Act 1994 ("the CI Act"), and is approved by the Health and Safety Commission ("HSC") and laid before both Houses of Parliament by the Secretary of State.  It sets out the means agreed between the Authority and HSE for securing co-operation and the exchange of information between them.  The Memorandum of Agreement, and any working arrangements made under it, are subject to annual review by the Chairman of the Authority and the Chief Executive of HSE.
  2. These Working Arrangements take forward the recommendations of the Hampton review report 'Reducing administrative burdens: effective inspection and enforcement' of 16 March 2005 in respect of inspection functions.   They clarify the boundaries and interfaces and provide for close working in a seamless, joined up way, avoiding any duplication of inspection activities with a view to minimising the number of site visits and reducing the burden on industry.

Nature of Inspections

  1. The general duties of the Authority are set out in sections 2 and 3 of the CI Act.   The Authority's inspections are bound up with their licensing and property functions, which need direct interaction with mine operators. This interaction is mainly office based, though also normally requires periodic site visits.  Reactive inspections may be required following complaints or requests from operators to vary a lease or licence.  Proactive inspections are programmed as required to check compliance with lease and licence conditions.
  2. The general duties of HSE are set out in section 11 and the enforcement powers of HSE in sections 18 to 25 of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 (the HSW Act).  HSE's inspections concern the proper control by operators of health and safety risks associated with mining operations.  Reactive inspections may be required following complaints, notifications from operators of reportable incidents or permissioning requests from operators.   Proactive inspections contribute to HSE's strategic delivery programmes.  

Risk basis of inspections

  1. Neither HSE nor the Authority will carry out inspections at operators' premises unless these are justified on a risk basis or are in response to actions of or requests by the operator.  Proactive matters will be dealt with in the course of any reactive inspections whenever this can sensibly be done with a view to reducing the number of inspections. 
  2. The Authority will take account of the following risk factors in programming inspections:
    • The potential for loss of revenue
    • Extent and costs of liabilities remaining if the operator were to cease trading;
    • The impact of operators working beyond their licensed area;
    • Confidence in the operator's management.
    • Reliability of information provided by the operator.
  3. HSE will take account of the following risk factors in programming inspections:
    • Potential for fire, explosion or other hazards that might lead to a major incident affecting many people;
    • The extent of other hazards that might lead to injury or ill-health.
    • Number of people (both workers and members of the public) at risk;
    • Confidence in the operator's management of hazards.   

Joint inspections

  1. Joint inspections by the CA and the HSE will normally be undertaken where these would reduce the burden on operators and there are issues affecting both parties.

Sharing information to avoid the need for inspections

  1. The Authority will not proactively inspect the underground parts of large deep mines.  HSE inspectors will alert the Authority to any indication from their inspections of these parts that operators might be working beyond their licence boundary. 
  2. HSE will not usually inspect working plans proactively.  The Authority will examine the plans it requires operators to provide and will draw HSE's attention to any matters that suggest non-compliance with health and safety legislation.
  3. The Authority will regularly notify HSE of its programme of inspections and supply copies of the reports on those inspections.
  4. HSE will copy to the Authority any statutory notifications it receives from operators concerning management structure and appointments or beginning and ending of mining operations.


  1. This document may be amended at any time by the Chief Inspector of Mines for HSE and the Chief Executive for the Authority.


D. Mitchell (for the Health and Safety Executive)
Date: 10 May 2006

A. Schofield (for the Coal Authority)
Date: 22 May 2006

Updated 2020-12-14