Workplace inspections help prevent work-related injury and illness. They are an important part of an effective workplace health and safety management system.
Who carries out workplace inspections
Inspections in the workplace are usually carried out by:
Purpose of workplace inspections
Workplace health and safety inspections are a useful tool to help prevent risk.
When you carry out a workplace inspection, you are critically examining the workplace to identify and report potential hazards that can be removed or avoided.
Workplace inspection should be supported by other measures to prevent risk. This includes consulting with workers, especially when changes are being proposed to a process, procedure or plant.
When to schedule an inspection
It is important to schedule regular workplace inspections. This recognises that workplace hazards come in many forms and need to be managed in a proactive way.
You may also need to carry out an inspection:
- in response to a report of an incident or hazard
- when a new process, procedure or plant is introduced to a workplace.
How to carry out an inspection
The workplace inspection checklist
An inspection checklist should be tailored to the specific hazards of your workplace.
The checklist should be developed in consultation with work group representatives. This includes health and safety representatives (HSRs), managers, workers and other interested people.
The checklist considers the:
- environment, including noise, vibration, lighting, temperature and ventilation
- equipment, including tools and materials
- work processes, including how the worker interacts with elements while carrying out a task or operation.
Things to consider when conducting a workplace inspection
- Listen to the concerns of workers and their representatives.
- Review and analyse workplace hazards and incident reporting data.
- Identify existing and potential hazards and determine their underlying cause.
- Review how effective hazard controls that were previously implemented were.
- Identify areas which need special attention due to the nature of work carried out.
- Identify areas which need attention where data shows signs of stress, wear, impact, vibration, heat, corrosion, chemical reaction or misuse.
- The entire workplace area should be included in the inspection. This includes parking lots, building access, rest areas, storage and amenities.
Things to consider after a workplace inspection
- How the findings and corrective actions are being tracked, managed and completed.
- Who is responsible for ensuring findings are closed out in a timely manner.
- Whether the findings and corrective actions were discussed with the relevant work group.
If you identify a serious danger
If you identify an immediate danger during a workplace inspection, immediately inform management.
Depending on the level of risk, work may need to stop until the risk is eliminated or adequate controls are implemented.