What Your Workplace Inspection Checklist Should Contain
Identifying workplace hazards can eliminate incidences of injury or health scares. The best way to do this would be to arrange a workplace inspection. Health and safety inspections provide a tremendous opportunity for scrutinising certain areas of (or the entire) workplace. Aside from hazard identification, the process also needs to incorporate risk assessment and risk control — all of which should be outlined in a checklist.
The workplace inspection checklist allows inspectors: to document the identified hazards; to record the risk rating of those hazards; to record the actions taken at the time of inspection; to set timeframes to complete actions and to assign responsibilities for corrective actions; and to document all other pertinent information about the hazards.
The checklist will be an itemised questionnaire that addresses specific sections (i.e., under “Lighting”: Is there sufficient lighting for the work to be carried out?). For an office setting, the general checklist should include the following:
· General facilities
· Emergency procedures
· Floors, stairs, and aisles
· Safety signs
· Manual handling
· First aid
· Hazardous materials (e.g., chemicals)
Some general workplace checklists may also address slips, trips, and falls, workplace temperature, personal protective clothing, security, vehicles, and other relevant hazards.
Since every workplace will be different, this means that the inspection checklist has to detail areas specific to the area (e.g., manufacturing plant, chemical laboratory, administrative office, etc.). While you can actually purchase a general inspection checklist, know that it may not include other aspects of your work environment. So you’ll need to modify it or look for specific checklists.
There are checklists that cover general hazards related to farming. There are checklists specific to biosafety. There are checklists intended for laboratories. And there are inspection checklists for construction sites.
The worksite inspection checklist for construction areas — in comparison to office environments — tend to be fuller, as the environment tends to present more inherent hazards. The scope of the inspection will also depend on the scale of the construction project.
But whatever the scope or the scale, the site inspection checklist should address the Safe Work Method Statement (i.e., Is it site specific; Does the workforce have adequate training?). It should also address the environment, work permits, licences, tools and equipment, vehicles and plants, dangerous goods or substances, fire hazards, traffic or pedestrian management, and excavations and trenches, among many others.
Aside from developing a checklist that addresses your specific workplace and specific sections, it is also important to include legislative requirements into the document. Moreover, know that inspection checklists are not permanent and that they need to be suitable for the workflow of each business unit or department.
Make sure your inspection checklist contains all the critical areas. Be detailed — be thorough with your checklist. And you will maintain a healthy and safe workplace for all.