Please note that this is NOT a definitive list and new items are constantly being added.

For more details of these various Inspectorates see the Reading list where some full text documents and books can also be read.

Listed in alphabetical order of Inspectorate’s name.

Agricultural Inspectorate

In 2007 Alan Plom wrote in the HSE Express Magazine an article Back to their roots PDF Document celebrating the 50th anniversary of the formation of the HM Agricultural Inspectorate and also the 60th anniversary of MIDAS, the informal association of ex agriculture inspectors and others who have supported them.


Factory Inspectorate

The first Factory Inspectors were appointed by King William IV in 1833. Inspectors’ reports in the long Victorian era that followed are a rich archive of contemporaneous commentaries on industrial working life. They contain many insights into the politics surrounding the changes in society, at the same time chronicling in detail the legal and technical developments needed to improve protection of workers’ safety, health and welfare. The story of the United Kingdom’s industrial development is closely entwined with the story of HM Factory Inspectorate and the development of Factory Law.


Medical Inspectors of Factories

Although it is clear that industrial health problems were being taken seriously by the Inspectorate in the closing years of the 19th Century, it still had no doctors on its staff. In 1896 Dr Arthur (later Sir Arthur) Whitelegge, who had been County Medical Officer of Health of the West Riding of Yorkshire, was appointed HM Chief Inspector of Factories and in 1898 he appointed the first Medical Inspector, Dr Thomas Legge.


Mines and Quarries Inspectorate

In 1840 a Royal Commission was established to investigate working conditions in coal mining. By 1842 the Commission had reported serious failings by owners along lines similar to those found in the textile mills. Their report prompted Parliament to pass the Coal Mines Act 1842, which prohibited women and children from working underground. The Act also provided for the appointment of an Inspector of Mines and the first, Hugh Tremenheere, commenced his duties in 1843.


Nuclear Installations Inspectorate

The Inspectorate’s origin lay in the ashes of the disastrous fire in Pile 1 at the UKAEA’s Windscale site in 1957. This, the worst nuclear accident ever to have occurred in the UK, was investigated by the Fleck Inquiry and led to the passing in 1959 of the Nuclear Installations Act, establishing a regulatory regime for nuclear safety based on licensing of installations. A new, separate Nuclear Installations Inspectorate (NII) was given responsibility for assessing risks to safety and licensing the UK’s nuclear power stations and other nuclear establishments, such as British Nuclear Fuels Ltd’s site at Sellafield, Cumbria and the UKAEA’s sites at Harwell and Dounreay. In 1975 the NII was reluctantly transferred from the Department of Energy to the newly formed Health and Safety Executive, becoming part of HSE’s Nuclear Safety Directorate.

Responsibilities for ensuring nuclear security (as distinct from safety) were given to HSE in 2007 as a result of the Hampton Report of 2005, which had been commissioned by the New Labour Government with the aim of reducing the number of regulatory bodies. The Office for Civil Nuclear Security (OCNS) and UK Safeguards Office (UKSO) were transferred to HSE, making its Nuclear Directorate responsible for matters relating not only to nuclear safety at the UK’s 40 licensed sites but also to their security and safeguards.

In 2011, a new Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) was created by government with a mission described as ‘to secure the protection of people and society from the hazards of the nuclear industry’. Set up initially as an agency of HSE, the ONR was made responsible for regulating the safety and security of the UK’s civil nuclear industry and absorbed the HSE’s Nuclear Directorate, with the aim of establishing a new, independent Nuclear Statutory Corporation (NSC) by 2014.


Offshore Oil and Gas Inspectorate


Quarries Inspectorate


Railway Inspectorate (HMRI)

Established in 1840, the Railway Inspectorate later Her Majesty’s Railway Inspectorate was the British organisation responsible for overseeing safety on Britain’s railways and tramways. Previously a separate non-department public body it was, from 1990 to April 2006, part of the Health and Safety Executive, then was transferred to the Office of Rail Regulation and finally ceased to exist in May 2009 when it was renamed the Safety Directorate.