Information on how to carry out workplace inspections
Inspections are a key part of good health and safety management. They allow you to check that your workplace and work activities are healthy and safe. Workplace inspections help prevent incidents, injuries and illnesses.
An inspection helps you identify hazards or processes that are not working efficiently and decide what measures to take before they lead to an accident or incident.
There are various ways to carry out inspections. You and the person/people you are carrying out the inspection with, should agree beforehand on the best way for your workplace.
You should agree in advance what needs to be inspected (e.g. specific areas, equipment) and to what standard (locally or legally set).
Reading past inspection reports can be useful to check for any issues identified before and whether these have been fixed.
Inspections can be carried out by simply walking around your premises to put right any issues there and then. You may record your findings in a notebook or use a checklist to remind you what to look for.
The inspection might include looking for unsafe conditions and unsafe acts.
Unsafe conditions might include slip, trip and fall hazards like uneven floors or trailing cables. They could also include faulty or damaged work equipment and electrical appliances and systems.
Unsafe acts could include not wearing PPE or not following safe working procedures.
Inspections can be formal, informal, recorded or unrecorded. It is important that they are carried out to an agreed standard and at a suitable frequency.
More formal ways of carrying out inspections include
The findings of formal inspections should be recorded, and it is important these records are kept.
It is equally as important to take action to remedy or correct any issues discovered during inspections as it is to identify them.
You should have a procedure in place that ensures a selected employee has a responsibility for completing the actions issued by a set date.
Another named individual should be responsible for checking the action has been taken by the agreed time.
You may also need to update any risk assessments or work procedures relating to the issues identified.
The type of work you do will influence how often you need to carry out inspections.
A low-risk working environment like an office may need inspecting less often.
A workplace with areas or carrying out activities that are high risk or fast changing, such as a construction project, may need inspecting more often.
You should use your risk assessment to identify how often you carry out inspection.
View more information on risk assessment
If you carry out monthly inspections without ever encountering an issue you might then be able to reduce this to every two to three months. If every inspection identifies an issue you might need to carry out inspections more frequently.
You can give advance notice of inspections to check on health and safety standards or carry them out without warning.
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For information on workplace health, safety and wellbeing, contact your local health board team