HC Deb 12 December 1983 vol 50 cc331-2W
Mr. Nellist

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if, pursuant to the answers to the hon. Member for Bolsover (Mr. Skinner), Official Report, 28 November, c. 408, and the hon. Member for Sheffield, Brightside, (Miss Maynard), Official Report, 28 November c. 413, he will give a breakdown of (a) the number of premises registered and (b) the number of premises visited for each of the categories of inspectors for the years 1979 to 1982; if he will give the average time between planned visits to the registered workplaces on the same breakdown; and if he will estimate the number of inspectors that would be necessary to ensure that each such workplace was inspected annually.

Mr. Gummer

[pursuant to his reply, 6 December 1983, c. 127]: The information available is as follows:

Factory Inspectorate
1979 1980 1981 1982
(a) Registered premises 310,000 309,000 550,000 500,000
(b) Number of visits 215,000 216,000 203,000 190,000
The increase in the register in 1981 reflects the inclusion of data from the 1977 census of employment. In addition to registered premises, the Factory Inspectorate visits a number of transient sites—for example construction sites and fairgrounds.
Agricultural Inspectorate
The Agricultural Inspectorate uses a register based on Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food annual statistical returns.
(a) Agricultural holdings 229,000 217,000 216,000 216,000
(b) Visits made to agricultural holdings etc. 38,000 39,000 33,000 31,000
Mines and Quarries Inspectorate
(a) Registered premises 4,039 4,021 3,950 3,840
(b) Visits made 21,477 21,454 20,153 17,903
1979 1980 1981 1982
In addition to registered premises, the Mines and Quarries Inspectorate is responsible for some 5,000 tips, landfill sites, pumping stations and rescue stations.
Nuclear Installations Inspectorate
(a) Registered premises 38 40 40 40
(b) Visits made 600 617 762 608
Industrial Air Pollution Inspectorate
(a) Registered premises 1,960 1,969 1,915 1,871
(b) Visits made 13,700 13,859 14,292 13,895

These visits include those made to premises not on the register, at the request of local authorities or the Department of the Environment.

The frequency of planned visits depends on a combination of factors including risks and hazards present in workplaces. Average planned visit frequencies for particular groups of workplaces are:

  • Mines—large coal mines:—once a week.
    • Other mines and quarries inspected by the Mines and Quarries Inspectorate:—at least once a year.
  • Nuclear installations:—every three weeks.
  • Premises inspected by the Industrial Air Pollution Inspectorate:—at least once a year.
  • Premises inspected by the Factory Inspectorate
    • overall average:—every 7 years.
    • higher risk premises (about 10%)—every 3 years.
    • some highest risk premises:—at least annually.
    • Agricultural premises—
  • employing labour:—every 4–7 years.
  • not employing labour:—every 12–16 years.
The Mines and Quarries, Nuclear and Industrial Air Pollution Inspectorates visit all their registered premises at least annually. It is not possible to estimate the number of factory or agricultural inspectors that would be needed to ensure that all workplaces for which they were responsible were visited annually.

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