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Workplace inspection

Workplace inspections are an important part of an effective health and safety management system and help prevent work-related injury and illnesses. By critically examining the workplace, inspections identify and report potential hazards that could be removed or avoided.

What do I need to consider?

When carrying out a workplace inspection things to consider include:

  • listening to the concerns of workers and their representatives
  • analysing workplace hazard and incident reporting data
  • identifying existing and potential hazards and determining their underlying cause
  • reviewing the effectiveness of any previously implemented hazard controls.

An effective workplace inspection will look at the environment, equipment, and the process of work. The environment includes noise, vibration, lighting, temperature and ventilation. Equipment includes tools and materials. The work process relates to how the worker interacts with related elements while carrying out a task or operation.

An inspection may arise from hazard or incident reporting or the introduction of a new process, procedure or plant. A health and safety representative (HSR) may also carry out an inspection not necessarily related to any of these considerations.

Certain zones in a workplace may need particular attention due to the nature of the work undertaken particularly where data or observation shows stress, wear, impact, vibration, heat, corrosion, chemical reaction or misuse may be occurring. Keep in mind the entire workplace area including parking lots, building access, rest areas, storage and amenities should be included in any inspection.

When carrying out a workplace health and safety inspection, management need to be informed straight away about anything that poses an immediate danger.  Based on the level of risk, work may need to stop until the threat is controlled.


Since workplace hazards may exist in various forms across most workplaces, a regular inspection schedule underpins a systems-based approach to the continuing health and safety of workers.

While workplace inspection is an important risk prevention tool, effective consultation with workers and HSRs, particularly where a change to process, procedure or plant is expected supports the wider prevention program.

Page last updated: 02 Apr 2014