Health and safety inspection is one of the element of the HSE-MS (Health and safety management system).
In the PDCA cycle (Plan, Do, Check & Act) safety management system, it falls under CHECK. It is a very important aspect of the HSE-MS as it helps to check if they HSE plan is being carried out efficiently.
Health and Safety inspection can be said to be an on-site walk through to identify potential hazards to occupants and personnel and options for remedial action.
Importance of safety inspection
Workplace inspections help prevent incidents, injuries and illnesses. Through a critical examination of the workplace, inspections help to identify and record hazards for corrective action. Health and safety committees can help plan, conduct, report and monitor inspections. Regular workplace inspections are an important part of the overall occupational health and safety program and management system, if present.
Through inspection, the following can be achieved:
- Get intimated with the concerns of workers and supervisors
- Gain further understanding of jobs and tasks
- Identify existing and potential hazards
- Determine underlying causes of hazards
- Recommend corrective action
- Monitor steps taken to eliminate hazards or control the risk (e.g., engineering controls, administrative controls, policies, procedures, personal protective equipment)
Read Also: 6 Methods of risk assessment you should know
How often should health and safety inspection be carried out
When planning on the frequency of safety inspection in the workplace, some factors to be considered include:
- The type of work done in the workplace
- Risk level – Low risk area will definitely require less inspection frequency than high risk work area.
RRisk assessment should be used to determine the above factors, the result of the risk assessment will be used to decide how often safety inspection in the workplace is necessary.
How to carry out Health and Safety inspection
Formal inspections can take different forms, you and your representatives will need to agree the best methods for your workplace.
Formal inspection can be carried out through;
- 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.
In the course of the inspection, there are good inspection practices that should be adopted:
- Plan a programme of inspections
- Agree the number of representatives to take part in the inspection
- Co-ordinate inspections – Inspection should be well planned if there is more than one representative to avoid unnecessary duplication.
- Inspect together with the representative; may be workers representative.
- Break down tasks: For larger workplaces, it may not be practical to conduct a formal inspection of the entire workplace in a single session.
- Inspection follow-up.
There should be a plan in place for all hazard identified during inspection to be well managed.
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