Regular workplace inspections are effective ways to identify and address workplace hazards that have the potential of causing injury or illness.
Your workplace inspection program should include:
- Written instructions on how to conduct inspections and an inspections schedule
- Responsibilities of employer, supervisors, workers, and those who are conducting inspections
- Inspection reports - management should review and sign-off on these
- Communication of inspection findings and corrective actions to all staff
- Employee training for those involved in inspections
- Regular review of this program
A workplace inspections program must be developed in accordance with the following sections of the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation:
- Section 4.3 – Safe machinery and equipment
- Section 4.9 – Inspection and maintenance records
- Section 16.34 – Start of shift inspection (mobile equipment)
For some specific types of equipment, other sections of the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation may apply.
You can search for the word “inspect” or “inspection” in the mobile app for OHS regulation for more information on mandatory inspections that could apply to your company.
Types of inspections
Inspections can be either informal or formal. Informal inspections are usually undocumented, quick, and visual, done at the worker and supervisory level. When you find a hazard, it can usually be corrected immediately and reported to a supervisor. A supervisor can record the hazard/deficiency in a daily log or journal to help with follow-up for corrective action.
Formal inspections are usually documented and more comprehensive. They occur regularly. Corrective actions may be assigned and scheduled. Formal inspections should be a team effort with at least one worker and one supervisor/manager participating in the inspection. Reference these formal inspections in this element of your OHS program.
Typically, a formal inspection is required for:
- General workplace inspections to identify hazards, verify the effectiveness of control measures, and complete corrective actions.
- Equipment inspections to identify and control new and existing hazards relating to equipment.
- Pre-shift inspections of mobile equipment such as forklifts and pallet jacks.
- Storage racking inspections, which are a regulatory requirement.
Corrective actions from inspections
Ensure issues identified by an inspection are corrected within a specified time and with an effective solution. Address simple hazards that you can resolve easily and quickly, immediately. More serious deficiencies may require time and investigation. Assign actions to a specific person with a completion date.
The manager should verify or follow up on any corrective actions. The Worker Health and Safety Representative should also sign off on any actions.