Workplace Inspection Programs
Workplace inspections form an important component of any health and safety program and due diligence for Employers. Inspections are meant to determine hazardous conditions or acts and provide information to develop corrective measures to enhance workplace health and safety and reduce the hazardous conditions or acts and prevent potential injuries.
The Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) states the following about Workplace Inspections:
Section 8(6) – 8(10) – Health and Safety Representatives:
- Unless required by Regulation or Inspector’s Order, a health and safety representative shall inspect the physical condition of the workplace at least once a month.
- If it is not practical to inspect the workplace at least once a month, the health and safety representative shall inspect the physical condition of the workplace at least once a year, inspecting at least a part of the workplace in each month.
- The Constructor, Employer and workers shall provide information and assistance the health and safety representative requires to carry out their inspection.
- The inspection required shall be undertaken in accordance with a schedule agreed upon by the constructor or employer and the health and safety representative.
Section 9(23) – 9(27) – Joint Health and Safety Committees
- The members of a committee who represent workers shall designate a member representing workers to inspect the physical condition of the workplace.
- If possible, the member designated shall be a certified member.
- The members of a committee are not required to designate the same member to perform all inspections or to perform all of a particular inspection.
- Unless required by the regulations or Inspector’s order, a certified member shall inspect the physical condition of the workplace at least once a month.
- If it is not practical to inspect the workplace at least once a month, the certified member shall inspect the physical condition of the workplace at least once a year, inspecting at least a part of the workplace in each month.
- The inspection required shall be undertaken in accordance with a schedule established by the committee.
- The constructor, employer and workers shall provide a certified member with information and assistance the member requires to carry out the inspection
Section 25(2)(h) and 27(2)(c) – Employer/Supervisor Due Diligence
A Health and Safety Representative or Joint Health and Safety Committee Member has the power to identify situations that may be a source of danger or hazard to workers and to make recommendations or report his or her findings thereon to the employer, the workers and the trade union or trade unions representing the workers. The Employer must follow up and correct the non-compliance conditions or hazards found during inspections to promote safety at work and avoid injury and illnesses of workers.
The Employer and Supervisor must do everything reasonable in the circumstances to protect the health and safety of the workers. The Employer must do everything within reason to protect worker health and safety. Workers may point out hazardous conditions and the Supervisor and/or Employer must correct the condition. But the Supervisor and Employer must constantly monitor the workplace and conditions and take action to prevent potential accidents. This can be done through workplace inspections.
How to Perform Inspections
Create a schedule for your inspections to ensure they are completed on a regular basis. You can schedule for the same day and time each month but mixing up the days and times ensures the workplace isn’t “set up” to show a good inspection result. Inspections should be documented on a standard form. Additional items not on the form should be listed in the comments section and added to the form where possible. The form should be communicated with a distribution list and corrective actions taken. The following list is a starting point but not exhaustive list of what inspections should cover:
- Physical premises for slip, trip and fall hazards, housekeeping, congestion, access and egress, storage of materials, etc
- Areas subject to repeated injuries/illnesses or complaints
- Equipment and Machines and Structures to ensure each piece is in good working condition, guards are in place, documentation proving daily checks are being completed where required by Regulations
- Posted materials are present and easily available including safety boards, signs and posters where required
- Observe workers performing their tasks to ensure they follow procedures and use the PPE that is provided to them
- Check to see problems identified during the last inspection have been resolved
It’s important to follow up on the results of the inspection including deficiencies found to ensure they are corrected. The leading cause of an accident is a hazard not corrected. If hazards are not corrected, additional measures must be taken. Set a regular frequency of follow up based on the severity of hazards found.
Through Heartzap Safety’s consulting and safety audits, a plan can be developed to ensure inspections are a regular component of your health and safety program. Contact Heartzap Safety — your health and safety company— about consulting services to get started.