Site inspections are used to ensure a workplace is as free as possible from any hazards potential or otherwise. They are a pre-planned event and are a major factor in avoiding injury or harm within the workplace.
Workplace health and safety site inspections include an assessment of each area to process improvement, identify hazards, risks and non-compliance. Through the worksite inspection a report will be developed detailing hazards and risks that have been ideintified and suggested improvements.
A site inspection is necessary for a number of reason such as:
- Assessing whether the site complies with legal requirements such as health and safety legislation.
- Assessing whether the works are being carried out in accordance with the contract documents.
- Monitoring site conditions to ensure that work is or has been undertaken in accordance with manufacturers recommendations
Site inspections are conducted by a qualified person who often may be from outside the company. This person may be known by several titles such as site inspector, clerk of works or building quality officer depending on the site and the sort of inspection that is required. It is important to remember that the inspector must have experience in the area that is being inspected.
When writing the report, it is important to make note of the appearance at the time it was inspected including any relevant hearsay, a list of items according to the section in which they are located and what you suggest should be done in reference to repairs or further investigation.
Every inspection must examine the who, what, where, when and how. Paying particular attention to items that are or are most likely to develop into unsafe or unhealthy conditions.
An inspector will utilise a variety of tools to identify the hazards.
- Talking with employees on issues of safety that they perceive or discussing with them the processes they follow for their tasks around the site.
- Going through any injury records to see if any patterns or connections present themselves.
- They may also need to take measurements, photographs, run tests (checking for lead or other poisonous substances in areas where they shouldn't be for example). It is then important to make sure that when the inspection is carried out the risks are identified that relate to each hazard.
During the inspection if a defect or fault is observed, the inspector will take notes on its location and probable cause. In doing this they will need to consider how the defect or fault can be remedied. It is important to remember that when photographs are taken and intended to be used in the report, that they clearly show the item of complaint. Wider shots are also needed in order to confirm that the close shot relates to the area which is the subject of the complaint.
In conducting a site inspection risks are reduced and thus the workplace is made safer. However, in saying this it is important to understand that site inspections are only part of the hazard control strategy.
Other aspects of the hazard control strategy are:
- Plant and equipment audits
- Task analysis and introduction of safety procedures
- Control and monitoring of materials
- Employee training
- Consultative procedures.