Workplace inspections are a key part of good health and safety management, allowing you to check that your workplace and work activities are healthy and safe. Workplace inspections can not only help prevent incidents, injuries and illnesses, but can also identify specific hazards or processes that may not be working efficiently. The importance of workplace inspections is imperative as decisions can then be made to decide what measures are needed to prevent an accident or incident occurring.
General routine inspections are meant to:
- Look for workplace hazards or potential hazards – it’s important to identify them before they cause harm
- Find out whether staff have any problems in doing their jobs
- Look at how work is being done – are safe systems of work being followed?
- Ensure compliance with Health & Safety legislation
A H & S inspection also provides an opportunity to prove your commitment to achieving a safe and healthy workplace.
There are various ways to carry out a health and safety inspection. Some ways these can be completed could be however not limited to :-
- Safety tours – inspecting the workplace generally
- Safety sampling – thoroughly examining specific dangerous activities, processes or areas
- Safety surveys – generally inspecting specific dangerous activities, processes or areas
- Incident inspections – looking at the cause of accidents, incidents and events that could have resulted in an injury or ill health.
The inspection might include looking for unsafe conditions and unsafe acts. Unsafe conditions might include slip, trip and fall hazards like uneven floors or trailing cables and they could also include faulty or damaged work equipment and Guarding missing from machinery. Unsafe acts could include not wearing PPE or not following safe working procedures. And of course, all formal findings of a workplace inspection will be recorded and kept.
Requirements for health and safety inspections will differ from business to business. This will vary based on types and complexity of operations, competency level of workers or employees, levels of risk, number of personnel involved as well as the general attitude towards health and safety within the organisation. But with all, the most important aspect is to address any issues, resulting in a safer working environment for staff and visitors.
Businesses simply cannot afford accidents, the purpose of such inspections are to reduce or even eliminate any risks to employees, customers or the general public. These risks could be as a result of poor hygiene, at risk work practices, behaviours, or simply as a result of inadequate policies and procedures to safely govern such operations within the business. At the end of every inspection, it is important that the information obtained is reviewed carefully and where identified as a significant risk, corrective action taken
The frequency of inspections will depend on the nature of the work. Inspections may be less often, for example, if the work environment is low risk. But if there are certain areas of a workplace or specific activities that are high risk or changing rapidly, more frequent inspection may be justified. If you carry out monthly inspections without ever encountering an issue you might then be able to reduce this to every two to three months. If every inspection identifies an issue you might need to carry out inspections more frequently.
For further information on the importance of workplace inspections, please contact us here.