The Importance of Workplace Inspections
Last year, OSHA conducted over 67,000 inspections. With an increased budget in 2023, OSHA is putting more resources towards conducting inspections. It’s more important than ever for businesses to put safety first and not ‘cut corners’ when it comes to OSHA regulations. An excellent way to ensure that your workplace is safe and up to standard is to regularly conduct workplace inspections.
Why are Workplace Inspections Important?
Workplace inspections identify and record hazards for corrective action, thus helping to prevent incidents, injuries, and illnesses, while keeping you OSHA compliant. Health and safety committees can assist in planning, conducting, reporting and monitoring inspections. Regular workplace inspections are an important part of the overall occupational health and safety program and management system. Regardless of where you are in your workplace safety program journey, it's vital that you incorporate workplace inspections and take the initiative in creating a safer environment for your employees.
Purpose of Inspections
- Identify and fully understand existing and potential hazards
- Listen to the concerns of workers and supervisors
- Gain a deeper understanding of jobs and tasks
- Recommend corrective action
- Monitor steps taken to eliminate hazards or control the risk
- Engineering controls, administrative controls, policies, procedures, PPE
What to Examine
Every inspection must answer the questions: who, what, where, when and how. Pay specific attention to items that have a higher chance of turning into unsafe or unhealthy conditions from stress, wear, impact, vibration, heat, corrosion, chemical reaction or misuse. Remember to also inspect areas where work isn't done regularly, such as parking lots, rest areas, office storage areas and locker rooms.
When conducting an inspection, look at ALL the workplace elements - the people, the environment, the equipment and the process. The environment includes noise, vibration, lighting, temperature and ventilation. Equipment considers materials, tools and apparatus for producing a product or a service. The process involves how the worker interacts with the other elements in a series of tasks or operations.