Inspections help identify unsafe conditions and work practices so that they can be eliminated or controlled before an accident occurs. Regular inspections are also an opportunity to identify, evaluate, improve and promote components of your workplace safety program.
For WorkSafeBC inspections, see this page.
Managers are responsible for ensuring that regular workplace inspections take place, to identify unsafe conditions and work practices. The following places, tools and practices will be inspected:
- Work areas
- Buildings and other structures
- Tools, equipment, machinery and vehicles (according to manufacturer's instructions)
- Work methods and practices
The level of hazard determines the frequency of inspections. For example, an office environment is usually inspected four times a year while inspections may take place monthly at a workplace with a higher hazard rating such as a warehouse. In a large workplace, inspections may be divided up, with sections inspected monthly.
If your inspections are turning up a lot of hazards it is time to increase how often you inspect.
All planned inspections must include employer and worker representatives, usually members of the Joint Occupational Health and Safety Committee (JOHSC). Other employees or inspectors may be present if additional expertise is required. The inspection team should be knowledgeable about
- Regulations and workplace safety rules
- Potential hazards in the workplace
- Work procedures and emergency procedures
Once identified, unsafe conditions or work practices must be eliminated or controlled. Once the hazard has been corrected, follow-up is the final step in ensuring the controls have been effective. Supervisors will communicate to all staff the results of the inspection and steps taken to mitigate hazards.
Records & Follow-up
Inspection records/reports are important. Past inspection records show what hazards have been identified. They also show what areas the inspection team concentrated on and what areas it did and did not inspect. Inspection reports should clearly describe findings and identify recommended corrective actions. Keep inspection reports for at least three years.
Sample inspection resources:
- Quarterly Safety Inspection Checklist (PDF, 764KB) covers everything from employee awareness of JOHSC and availability of training materials to working alone procedures and violence in the workplace
- Occupational Health and Safety Inspection Form (PDF, 30KB) is a simple report that includes fields for identified hazards, corrective actions required and final outcome
Other Types of Safety Inspections
- Ongoing equipment/work area inspections: All employees should be trained to inspect their own equipment and work area regularly, to always be alert for hazards and to report any safety issues to their supervisor
- Special inspections: Special inspections must be made when there has been a malfunction, when an accident has occurred or prior to the operation of a piece of equipment or process
- Supervisory inspections: As a regular part of the supervisor's job, there should ongoing planned and informal inspections or "walkabouts." Remember to document any issues you find and take time to commend staff for working safely