In any workplace where potentially hazardous equipment is in use, or where there are activities taking place that could pose a risk to workers, regular safety inspections are essential for the creation and maintenance of a high-performance safety culture.
Safety inspections enable risks to be identified and quantified and are the first step towards designing and implementing appropriate solutions that ensure employee safety.
What is the purpose of a safety inspection?
The primary purpose of a safety inspection is to help safety leaders to identify potential hazards that pose a risk to employee safety and wellbeing, with the ultimate aim of preventing workplace accidents, injuries and illnesses.
Therefore, a safety inspection may include an examination of a plant, equipment, and vehicles, including how they are utilised in the workplace and the safeguards that are in place to mitigate the risks attached to their use.
A safety inspection will also evaluate workplace practices and how these contribute to employee safety, or whether they create workplace risks.
At the same time, a safety inspection will also provide positive feedback as to where effective safety practices are being enacted and will highlight safety behaviours that make a positive contribution to the overall safety culture of the workplace.
Plan for regular safety inspections
In order for safety inspections to fulfill their role of preventing workplace accidents, injuries, and illnesses, it is important that they are scheduled to be carried out at regular intervals. This is so that any changes in operations or procedures are able to be scrutinised and in order for any patterns or trends relating to workplace incidents to be identified.
It is often the case in busy workplaces that elements of the SMS become neglected, or it may be that safety procedures are not always being fully or correctly implemented. Having regular safety inspections, therefore, helps to prevent unsafe practices creeping in and identifies new areas of operation that might not have been included in the existing SMS.
Is everything covered in your safety inspection?
Safety inspections should also be scheduled to take place regularly so that a variety of shifts and workdays are covered, and all equipment is able to be inspected. Therefore, a safety inspection may need to take place over an extended period of time so that all aspects of operations, including less visible working practices, can be assessed.
A safety inspection should also be planned so that it provides opportunities for discussions with employees and enables a wide variety of views and perceptions on workplace safety to be considered. A high-performance safety culture can only be achieved when supported by appropriate safety behaviours, and so an inspection needs to not only look at plant and procedures but people as well.
Regular inspections will also be able to note any changes in safety behaviours over time (perhaps as personnel change) and the degree to which an organisation’s safety culture is being maintained.
Barclay Safety Solutions – safety inspection specialists
At Barclay Safety Solutions, our team of highly experienced safety consultants conduct safety inspections in all types of working environments. We are well versed in both Australian standards and international best practices, and our expertise means that we are able to help organisations of all sizes to establish effective safety cultures.