Workplace Inspections

In Health and Safety, March 20223 MinutesBy Tracey MurphyApril 8, 2022

There are many things an employer or manager does to ensure the safety of their workers. Remember that workers include contractors, sub- contractors and other people.

Some of these things are:

• Induction – making sure workers understand how health and safety are managed in the organisation.
• Training – ensuring workers know the best and safest way to do their tasks.
• Supervision – providing an experienced worker to watch over a worker who may be new or new to the task.
• Toolbox meetings – discussing what we are about to do and how, including hazards and risks and how to manage them.
• SOPs – standard instructions for tasks.
• PPE – providing workers with the most appropriate personal protection.
• Checklists – machinery, plant and site.

Despite all this, workers still get hurt or do the task without regard to safety or quality.

One of the best tools in our safety toolbox is our eyes. Site reviews and talking to the workers on the job allow us to identify work done well, work done not so well, and any problems on-site. It doesn’t matter if the site is involved with construction or transport, etc. There will always be a place or task we can look at. Workplace inspections can also include checking your compliance – services, certifications, calibrations, etc.

Recently, I was on a construction site. I had visited this site weekly for a few weeks before. The organisation is very reputable and takes working safely seriously. On none of my previous visits had I identified any major problems.

This visit, we observed a worker using a concrete saw without water, mask or hearing protection. We contacted the site manager immediately, who addressed the situation instantly. The worker only had a small job and decided to do it without following proper procedure; he believed it would take longer to do safely. Clearly, people will take shortcuts if they think they will get away with it.

The key is to act. If you identify anything wrong, you must address it at once. If it is left, you send a message that it’s okay to take shortcuts, that you will only address concerns once the job is done. If you identify problems, you should follow up to ensure the correct actions have been taken and that they don’t recur.