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How to become a Health & Safety Inspector

Written by Phoenix Health & Safety
20th June 2018
Occupational health and safety officer in factory

Become a health and safety inspector and you are most likely to be working for the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), although there are also opportunities to work as an inspector for local authorities and large organisations.

It’s a varied job which involves inspecting workplaces, investigating incidents and providing advice and support to employers and employees alike. You will also find yourself preparing legal cases and appearing in court as a witness from time to time.

Education and qualifications

The main educational qualification required is a good degree (HSE asks for a 2:1 or better). Most candidates tend to have studied a science or engineering subject, environmental health or food technology, although graduates in other disciplines are welcomed. 

Alternatively you can qualify by combining an HND with at least two years’ experience in a relevant profession. A professional qualification associated with that profession, or chartered membership of the relevant industry body, will also enhance your prospects. Candidates also need a GCSE in maths with a C grade or higher to be in the running.

A relevant NEBOSH or IOSH qualification, will also give you an edge. Competition is fierce for these much-coveted roles.


The other essential qualification is of course a passion for the subject. Health and safety inspectors play a number of crucial roles: protecting the British workforce, ensuring that employers manage risk sensibly and comply with health and safety law, and ensuring that workplaces do not cause injury or illness – let alone death.


Among the skills potential inspectors need to demonstrate are:

  • Ability to understand the law and how it applies to industry legislation, regulations and standards
  • Grasp of modern industrial technologies and processes
  • Knowledge of measurement techniques and instruments
  • Agility to constantly update your knowledge and skill sets
  • Negotiation skills and the ability to persuade people with tact, discretion and emotional intelligence
  • Spoken and written communication skills
  • Problem solving ability
  • Confidence and a resilient attitude in the face of resistance and reluctance

Other assets you are likely to need include a clean driving licence, because the job will take you to many different workplaces. Also sufficient physical fitness to be able to reach high, inaccessible and exposed places on occasions. 

For advice on qualifying for a role as a health and safety inspector, or any senior position in the health and safety profession, feel free to talk to the Phoenix team at any time.