Whether your company is just starting your safety program or if you have had one in place for quite a while, a safety inspection is a great method for getting a clear picture of how well your safety program is working and in what areas your program needs improving. An effective safety inspection program will improve workplace conditions in many ways. An inspection can help to evaluate the actual work process and identify training needs. It can help boost morale by providing a means of employee feedback. A good inspection will help to identify areas that are not in compliance with OSHA standards.
As you get started with your inspection process, you need to plan by asking yourself some important questions.
Are you looking to observe any unsafe acts being performed by your employees or are you mainly focusing on finding unsafe conditions in your workplace?
When looking for unsafe acts you need to determine the best process for observation. Employees tend to act differently when they know that they are being observed. When watching workers the best practice is to stand or sit somewhere out of the way and avoid too much interaction. Eventually employees will slip back into their less cautious routine.
Most likely you will try to find both unsafe acts and unsafe conditions. Just keep in mind that when conducting an inspection for unsafe conditions, most employees will be on their best behavior for the small amount of time that you are doing your inspection.
The ideal safety inspector is going to have knowledge of the jobsite, of the equipment being used, and the applicable safety regulations.
There are several choices to be made when determining who will conduct the safety inspection. The company Safety Representative would be a good place to start. The big concern is that is only one set of eyes looking for hazards. The next place to look is at the company Safety Committee. They have a strong knowledge of the jobsite and what existing safety concerns the company is needing to address.