Staff days committed to inspection activity

Date released: 28/06/06

Information released: Following a request HSE has released information about staff days committed to inspection activity following the recent appearance by Bill Callaghan and Geoffrey Podger at the Work & Pensions Committee.

(staff days) 2001/02 2002/03 2003/04 2004/05 2005/06
Field Operations Directorate [1] 24361 28818 29585 29214 28432 [4]
Hazardous Installations Directorate [2] 14720 16985 20824 19021 23475
Total 42961 49973 54366 51998 55632


  1. All time involving direct contact with duty holders, stakeholders or intermediaries.
  2. Total time recorded against inspection and investigation.
  3. Regulatory Time on-site.
  4. Provisional figure.

Out of necessity, the three operational directorates record information of their interventions differently. Both NSD and HID operate charging regimes and hence record their time to reflect their charging frameworks and particular regulatory approaches. As a consequence of the specific business needs of these directorates, there is no common definition or reporting requirement for actual contact days across HSE.

As would be expected in a large and complex organisation such as HSE, the figures above demonstrate fluctuations and variations in activity. However, the overall impression from the data is one of a consistent level of contact with our duty holders in recent years.

Information on our overall approach to health and safety interventions is available on HSC/E's websites; two pages that will be of particular interest are:

Each of HSE's operational directorates maintains a system for intervention selection, and where appropriate these are tailored to the specific hazards and risks for a particular sector.

The outcomes from these selection systems are maintained on databases held within each of the Directorates. They will be updated following each inspection or as other intelligence is received that could impact on the overall risk picture, for example following the assessment of a site's safety case. These databases are for HSE's operational purposes and are not made available to either duty holders or the public.

None of the Directorates allocate a figure for contact time in their work plans as it is not practicable to plan for all the reactive work that involves contact with dutyholders by staff at all levels, eg the investigation of incidents and complaints. However:

  • FOD allocate in their operational plans specific amounts of contact time to Fit3 programme work for certain types of staff. They do, however, set a target for contact time for operational frontline inspectors (52 days contact per inspector in 2005/06) and aim to maintain a 60:40 ratio between proactive time (inspection, advice and standards work) to reactive time (investigation, complaint follow-up and enforcement).
  • The contact time provided is in terms of time spent on inspection and investigation, and time is allotted to these categories in their workplan. The combined figure for inspection and investigation for 2005/06 was 22,520 staff days.

Additional time spent on the investigation over and above normal working hours is marbled within the overall figures provided and is addressed by mixture of overtime payments and time off in-lieu. Of the 955 days delivered above planned for last year 643 days are attributed to the Buncefield investigation.

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Updated 2022-05-23