Understanding and Achieving the Ideal Safety Inspections: Part 1

Understanding and Achieving the Ideal Safety Inspections: Part 1

14th January 2021

What do you understand by the term ideal safety inspection? Is it the surprise visits from an inspector from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE)? Or those inspections conducted following a safety incident? Or the scheduled inspections conducted as part of the safety audits? Well, it certainly isn’t any of the above. Ideal safety inspection refers to a routine that employers and the workforce faithfully observe and manage themselves. Employers need to be aware of everything about the workplace and the work being done in order to protect the workforce and prevent workplace accidents. Routine inspections are, therefore, vital to identify and correct health and safety hazards as soon as possible, ensure health and safety policies are followed to the latter, determine the need for safety training, and show workers the management is concerned about their safety and well-being. They also help ensure that your workplace will fare well during the future workplace safety audits and you’ll pass an inspection by the HSE inspector.

When and How Should You Conduct Ideal Inspections?

The optimum timing of your inspection depends on the nature of the work you’re managing or supervising. If you’re working in very hazardous sites, you’ll need to conduct formal and weekly inspections, but if you’re managing or supervising an office, you may only need to inspect the area monthly. Consider supplementing formal, regular safety inspections with informal daily walk-around inspections of the sensitive areas. You should also consider unscheduled inspection, especially for sites that have had more safety issues in the recent past. Follow-up inspections are also necessary to ensure the issues identified during the previous inspections have been addressed and fixed effectively. Ensure you have and use checklists during all the inspections to ensure no item is left unchecked. Written checklists should be used for all formal inspections for future reference. The checklist should have enough space for notes to comment on the issues that require attention. For daily walkarounds, on the other hand, you may just check for the most common safety issues. You’ll need proper access equipment, such as safety ladders, for your safety when traversing the workplace conducting the inspection.

Why You Should Involve Your Workers

As the employer or supervisor, you’ll be taking the lead in work area safety inspections. It is also your responsibility to ensure proper action is taken to mitigate the problems found. Such safety inspections can be a good way to involve your workers in safety programs, including safety training. It motivates them to prioritise safety in the workplace and will also save you much time. Ask your employees to help come up with inspection checklists for their work stations. You should have representatives appointed or an inspection team under your supervision. Ensure you include representatives from each department who understands the operations in the area very well. After the inspection, arrange to meet with the representatives of your workers to discuss safety problems and the relevant corrective measures.

What to Look For

Your inspection checklist will vary in detail and length depending on the type of inspection you intend to conduct. The second part of this post will discuss some of the common inspection lists that you can consider for your workplace.