Workplace Safety Inspections
Conducting workplace safety inspections can serve a greater purpose than simply meeting a compliance requirement. In fact, workplace safety inspections can be a vital part of your injury prevention efforts if done well. They can help reassure workers that the workplace is safe and help the company demonstrate that it cares.
What to Examine
You can approach safety inspections in a number of ways.
- You could focus on the most common tasks your workers perform.
- You could break up the work site into specific segments with focused checklists to look at specific hazards and activities in each area.
- You could target the specific issues addressed by your safety program, such as material handling, confined space entry, or workplace violence.
- Tying your workplace inspections to elements of your health and safety program will help you remain proactive about safety throughout your organisation.
Things to look for:
- Uncorrected problems from the previous inspection report
- Workers not following safe work procedures or procedures that aren’t correct
- Improper storage or handling of materials (for example, boxes in front of emergency exits or electrical panels, or chemicals not being used appropriately)
- Accumulation of liquid or grease on floors
- Poor maintenance of equipment.
If your inspection reveals a problem, try to understand why it has happened. For example, if you see a wet floor, ask why. Possible explanations could include a water leak, a job process that’s creating the problem, or a lack of training on how to clean up the hazard.
Look at all workplace elements – the people, the environment, the equipment and the process. The environment includes such hazards as noise, vibration, lighting, temperature, and ventilation. Equipment includes materials, tools and apparatus for producing a product or a service. The process involves how the worker interacts with the other elements in a series of tasks or operations.
What types of hazards do we look for in a workplace?
Types of workplace hazards include:
- Safety hazards such as those caused by inadequate machine guards, unsafe workplace conditions, unsafe work practices.
- Biological hazards caused by organisms such as viruses, bacteria, fungi and parasites.
- Chemical hazards caused by a solid, liquid, vapour, gas, dust, fume or mist.
- Ergonomic hazards caused by physiological and psychological demands on the worker, such as repetitive and forceful movements, awkward postures arising from improper work methods, and improperly designed workstations, tools, and equipment.
- Physical hazards caused by noise, vibration, energy, weather, heat, cold, electricity, radiation and pressure.
- Psychosocial hazards that can affect mental health or well-being such as overwork, stress, bullying, or violence.
Actions from inspections:
At the conclusion of an inspection, any issues raised should be addressed in the following manner:
- fix serious hazards or unsafe work practices immediately; this is a legal obligation. For example, if you find that a ladder has a damaged rung, immediately repair or replace it.
- prioritize less serious hazards and assign someone to fix each one
- follow up on any actions that will take time to complete (for example, purchasing new equipment)
- let workers know what you find during inspections
- ensure that the health and safety representative or committee has access to, and reviews, the inspection reports and process.
Regular inspections reveal changes and allow you to engage directly with staff about safety. Please contact Compliance Lab if you would like us to assist by conducting the Workplace Inspections or if you require more information regarding Workplace Inspections. We can also provide you with a template Workplace Inspection Checklist by clicking here.