Health and Safety Inspections for Employers and Contractors
Introduction to Workplace Inspections
Health and safety inspections for employers and contractors forms a vital part of a proper health and safety management system. Inspections such as these allow the employer and contractor to ensure that the workplace and work activities are health and safe. They also work to reduce and prevent incidents, injuries, illnesses, and even death.
Through an inspection, hazards can be identified along with processes that are not efficient. Thus, decision on measures to be taken can be made before they lead to an accident or an incident.
How are health and safety inspections carried out?
There are numerous ways through which an inspected can be carried out. However, the person taking the lead and others involved in the inspection must first agree on the best way to carry out the inspection, relevant for the workplace being inspected.
There must be a decision made on what must be inspected and according to what standard must it be checked. Past inspection reports for the area and activity can also be consulted to see if previous issues were identified and whether they have been fixed.
Inspections can be carried out by simply performing a walk-about of the premises and by fixing any issues that emerge immediately. However, it is important to record findings or to make use of a checklist as a reminder of any specific activities to look at.
The inspection conducted can also include an observation on any unsafe conditions or unsafe acts. Unsafe conditions may include slip, trip, and fall hazards, faulty or damaged equipment, and others whereas unsafe acts include employees not wearing PPE, or not following safe work procedures.
Inspections can either be formal or informal, recorded, or unrecorded. The most important thing is that they are carried out in accordance with an agreed standard at a suitable frequency.
Other ways in which inspections can be carried out include, but is not limited to:
- Safety tours
- Safety sampling
- Safety surveys, or
- Incident inspections
How to address identified issues during an inspection
Inspections are important and so are observations of unsafe acts or conditions but more importantly, taking accident immediately to correct such conditions or acts are paramount. There must be a procedure in place to ensure that selected employees are given the responsibility to complete actions which are issued by a predetermined date.
There must also be an individual who is tasked with following-up to ensure that action was taken by the agreed date.
When corrective actions are taken, there may also be a need to update risk assessments or work procedures relating to the issues identified, updating either processes or corrective measures.
How frequently must inspections take place?
The type of work being conducted will determine the frequency of inspections. Low-risk working environments will not require frequent inspections whereas areas where high risks are present, or where they are fast-changing, may need frequent inspections.
The risk assessment must be used as a guideline when determining inspection frequency.
If a monthly inspection is held without encountering any issues, the frequency can be extended to every two or three months. However, should every inspection reveal issues, it means that the inspection frequency must be increased.
Advance notice of inspections can be given when inspecting health and safety standards or inspections can be conducted without warning. However, such inspections are not recommended for high-risk environments where warning of visitation is required.
How can SafetyWallet help Employers and Contractors’ Health and Safety Compliance?
SafetyWallet works to ensure that its subscribers are supported and assisted in all matters relating to health and safety, and through a partnership with MAKROSAFE and OHS Online, subscribers can ensure that they are a part in creating a safer, healthier, and more compliant working environment. To further find out how you can ensure employer and contractor’s Health and Safety compliance, contact us.
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