Regular safety inspections are a cornerstone of a proactive approach to health and safety. Inspections will help you identify hazards so you can take preventive action before an incident occurs.
How often you need to carry out inspections will depend on the types of hazards at your workplace and the level of risk. You must conduct inspections together with your joint health and safety committee or worker health and safety representative (depending on the size of your workforce). You should also inspect your workplace whenever there’s a new process in place, a physical change to the workplace, or if there has been an incident.
Inspections are a way of identifying potentially unsafe conditions, facilities, operations and actions. Properly carried out, inspections keep you informed on the overall conditions at your workplace. Inspections reveal what is wrong. But more importantly, they also suggest corrective actions you can take to bring conditions up to the desired standard of safety.
Inspection and reports are invaluable when:
- Management is receptive and appreciative of the findings.
- Workers are commended for their efforts.
- Positive corrective actions are taken to eliminate unsafe conditions.
What to look for
A few examples of safety issues to look for include:
- Unsafe acts by workers
- Equipment or machinery that’s missing proper guards or is poorly maintained
- Slipping or tripping hazards on floors
- Poor storage practices (e.g., supplies or other items blocking emergency exits, stairs, or corridors)
- Problems that haven’t been corrected since the previous inspection
Corrections or recommendations
- Correct serious hazards or unsafe acts right away (e.g., take damaged equipment out of service immediately, and repair or replace it).
- Determine the order for correcting less serious hazards, and assign responsibility for fixing each one.
- Make sure to follow up on hazards that cannot be corrected immediately (e.g., where purchases are required).
- Report the findings of inspections to your workers.
For more information:
- Workplace Inspections (WorkSafeBC)
- Monthly Health and Safety Meeting and Inspection Checklist (go2HR)
- Safety Inspections Workbook (WorkSafeBC)