Find out what an environmental health inspector does.

Know what a health inspector does and how processes work to avoid scams. Photo: File.

There have been reports of fake environmental health practitioners issuing fraudulent business licences, permits and certificates of acceptability to business owners, and charging them for these services.

Knowing exactly what an environmental health inspector is and how the licence application processes work could mean the difference between supporting compliance practices and being conned.

Environmental health and business licence officers are involved in compliance monitoring of premises that require licensing in terms of the Businesses Act.

The following services are regarded as Municipal Health Services in terms of the National Health Act 61 of 2003:

1. Food control

2. Waste management

3. Health surveillance of premises

4. Surveillance and prevention of communicable diseases

5. Vector control

6. Environmental pollution control (these services form an integral part of business licensing and have to be evaluated before a licence is issued)

7. Disposal of the dead

8. Environmental pollution control

9. Chemical safety.

The licence application process starts with lodging an application for an apposite licence at the regional environmental health office. The business licence officer, designated staff member or business licence assistant then has to advise the applicant on the legislative provisions and processes that are to be followed, the city council’s policy, the applicable application fees as determined by the council annually, and where to pay his/her application fee. Remember that no environmental health practitioner is allowed to accept any payment.

Finally, the proof of payment must be returned to the environmental health offices without delay.

Be mindful of people claiming to be inspectors. Ask for official identification cards that must be produced when an inspection is conducted.

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Read: Beware of fake health practitioners 

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