Routines for workplace inspections
It is a good idea to carry out a safety inspection once every three months, when the responsible supervisor, production manager, safety representative, trade representative and perhaps the full safety committee take part. Risks of injury and ergonomic and organisational problems can be found by systematically examining and inspecting the workplace.
Safety inspections are one of the most important preventive measures that can be taken to ensure a safe workplace. If there is a high risk of injury, inspection must be conducted at frequent intervals.
For workplace inspections, it is important first to establish the following
- The emphasis and scope of the inspections.
- How they are to be carried out and what form the reports should take.
- Which persons should be included in the inspection committee.
- Who is responsible for seeing that the improvements suggested are presented to the management and implemented.
- What checks should be done as a follow-up to ensure that the agreed steps have been taken.
Workplace inspections will vary slightly between large and small enterprises. It may be difficult to carry out a single comprehensive inspection of a large enterprise because production may be split into many different sections or departments. In smaller enterprises the entire production is usually located in a smaller area.
The following are the purpose of the inspections are:
General workplace inspections
are principally intended to check the general standard of the workplace conditions within an entire enterprise or factory and are carried out at least once a year.
Detailed workplace inspections
are carried out within specific areas. They can be carried out regularly, e.g. once a month.
While inspecting individual items against a checklist, the employees at each workplace should be asked whether they have any problems or suggestions regarding safety, health and working conditions.
Special workplace inspections
. These inspections follow no particular schedule and can cover one or more specific problems, e.g. studying the risks involved in handling chemicals or improvements in lifting. Special safety inspections can also be made of one specific workplace or a process posing special problems.
These inspections and regular checks make equipment safer. Special inspectors often need to carry out annual inspections of transport vehicles, cranes, pressurized vessels etc. The supervisor responsible and the operator should also carry out their own inspections of the equipment. To improve safety, daily inspections should be carried out by the operator when starting up the machines.
Areas for workplace inspections
The inspection members should check the following :
Workplace inspection record
- Inspection records.
- Overtime log.
- Workshop premises and passageways (cleanliness, exits free from obstacles, etc.).
- Fire-fighting equipment.
- Waste disposal.
- Electrical equipment.
- Welding equipment.
- Lifting equipment.
- Ropes, chains and accessories.
- Compressed air lines.
- Climate and ventilation.
- Dust, fumes, gases.
- Fuel/oil and paint stores.
- Paints and solvents in use.
- Explosives and other chemicals.
- Personal protective equipment.
- Ergonomic problems.
- Individual work areas.
- Trucks and transport vehicles.
- Work organisation problems.
- Welfare facilities
It is important that the observations made during workplace inspections are noted, so that any shortcomings or suggestions can be reported. Concrete proposals should be made based on the record. The workplace inspection record is a useful aid in planning and carrying out improvements. The records should not consist simply of completed checklists, but include proposals for improvements.
In making proposals, try to obtain expertsí advice. Engineers, safety officials, veteran foremen or experts outside the enterprise may be helpful to you.
It is important to know who is responsible for the workplace inspection records and where they are kept.
Suggested measures should be formulated in a way that can be accepted by the staff involved. Issue information on the results of safety inspection rounds and proposed measures. It may be necessary for purchase officers, maintenance staff, training officers etc., to be aware of the measures that have been introduced in order to make them as effective, practical and economical as possible.