I am advised by the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) that they do not keep a record for every sector differentiating between announced and unannounced inspections and therefore it is not possible to provide the Deputy with an exact figure for the number of unannounced inspections that took place in 2020.
However, I am assured by the HSA that the vast majority of their inspections remain unannounced and that the number of announced inspections carried out in any given year is small in number - the number provided by the Health and Safety Authority is an estimate. The amount of unannounced inspections is around 95% of the overall total number of inspections in any given year. An approximate estimation of unannounced inspections for 2020 would be over eight thousand, six hundred given the total of 9,135 inspections in 2020.
Some of the exceptional circumstances where prior notification may be appropriate and necessary include security, availability of essential personnel and operational reasons.