Routine workplace inspections will help you, as an employer, identify and prevent hazards. Your employees will benefit from a safer workplace, and you?ll minimize the number of workplace accidents and injuries that occur in your business.
Regular Inspections: Scheduling and Assigning Inspectors
Consider setting a schedule for routine inspections. Many employers inspect different areas of the workplace on different schedules. Areas that are considered low-risk can be inspected less frequently than high-risk areas. Some areas must be inspected during operation in order to clearly illustrate possible hazards.
Supervisors and highly experienced employees can conduct routine safety inspections. Talking to workers will help identify their concerns and uncover potential hazards. Creating a checklist will help ensure that all employees conducting inspections are able to identify hazards correctly.
What to Look For
Your ultimate goal is a safe workplace?but that requires a well-rounded view of every potential hazard. You?ll need to look for environmental factors, like:
In addition to environmental factors, employers need to evaluate equipment, such as:
- Materials used in production
- Finished products
Finally, employers need to inspect the process by which tasks are accomplished. If a worker uses equipment to complete a task, the process he or she uses must be scrutinized. That begins with switching the machine on, the performance of the task, and switching the machine off.
Using an Inspection Checklist
Creating and implementing an inspection checklist that can be used in each area of your workplace will ensure that you have a clear picture of all currently existing hazards. You?ll need to file your inspection checklists for later use, so if you have a large, multifaceted operation, assigning numerical codes for different areas of your establishment may be helpful.
Your checklist should have a space designated for the inspector?s name, the date of the inspection, and a list of items that need to be inspected. You may choose to outline your checklist like this:
- Workspace clean and orderly
- Warning signs and tags present
- Stored materials secure
- Exits unobstructed and accessible
Providing room for a ?Yes,? ?No? or ?N/A? answer, as well as a space for comments, will help inspectors give the most accurate answers to each question. Encouraging your inspector to take notes will allow you to gain insight into potential hazards. The notes can include possible remedies for hazards, worker comments and observed precautions. Your checklist might also include taking inventory of all necessary equipment.
Depending on the nature of your workplace?and the likelihood of severe injury or illness posed to your workers?you may need to conduct inspections daily, weekly, monthly or twice per year. According to OSHA, those most familiar with the equipment and potential hazards in your workplace can determine how often your routine inspections should take place.
When you add new equipment, hire new employees or have a workplace accident or injury, it?s generally a good idea to conduct a safety inspection.
Maintaining records of each inspection, regardless of its frequency, is vital to proving OSHA compliance if necessary. If an employee is injured in your workplace, OSHA inspectors generally investigate; having a record of your inspection data will assist them in verifying that your workplace has been compliant.