Workplace Safety Inspections: Why They’re Essential for a Safe and Healthy Workplace
Workplace safety is a top priority for employers, and one of the most effective ways to maintain a safe and healthy workplace is through regular workplace safety inspections. Workplace safety inspections help identify potential hazards, assess risks, and take corrective action to prevent accidents and injuries.
In this blog, we will cover everything you need to know about workplace safety inspections, including legislative compliance requirements, policies and procedures, preparation, a workplace safety inspection plan, compliance with Australian Standards and Codes of Practice, and what should be covered in an inspection.
Legislative Compliance Requirements for Workplace Safety Inspections
In Australia, employers have a legal obligation to ensure that their workplace is safe and healthy for their employees. This includes complying with the model or harmonised occupational health and safety legislation, such as the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (WHS Act) and the Work Health and Safety Regulations 2011 (WHS Regulations). Each state and territory in Australia has its own set of legislation based on the model legislation that governs workplace health and safety.
Workplace safety inspections are an effective way to ensure compliance with legislative requirements. A workplace safety inspection should identify potential hazards, assess risks, and take corrective action to prevent accidents and injuries.
Compliance with Australian Standards and Codes of Practice
In addition to legislative compliance, it is also important to ensure compliance with Australian Standards and Codes of Practice during workplace safety inspections. These standards and codes provide additional guidance on how to maintain a safe and healthy workplace and can help employers identify and address potential hazards.
Compliance with these standards and codes can also help to demonstrate due diligence in the event of a workplace incident or injury.
Policies and Procedures for Workplace Safety Inspections
To ensure that workplace safety inspections are effective, it is important to have clear policies and procedures in place. Policies and procedures should outline the process for conducting workplace safety inspections, including who is responsible for conducting the inspections, how often they should be conducted, and what should be included in the inspections.
Policies and procedures should also outline the process for reporting and addressing hazards identified during the inspection. This may include the development and implementation of corrective action plans to address identified hazards.
Preparation for Workplace Safety Inspections
Before conducting a workplace safety inspection, it is important to prepare adequately. This may include reviewing relevant legislation, standards and codes of practice, and ensuring that all necessary equipment and resources are available.
It is also important to ensure that employees are aware of the inspection and understand the importance of workplace safety. This may involve communicating the purpose of the inspection, what will be covered, and how they can contribute to maintaining a safe and healthy workplace.
Workplace Safety Inspection Plan
A workplace safety inspection plan should outline the process for conducting the inspection and identify the areas of the workplace that will be covered. The inspection plan should be tailored to the specific needs of the workplace and should cover all potential hazards.
The workplace safety inspection plan should also include a checklist of items to be inspected. This checklist should cover all potential hazards and should be tailored to the specific needs of the workplace.
Workplace Safety Inspection Checklist
An effective workplace safety inspection checklist should cover all potential hazards and should be tailored to the specific needs of your workplace. The following are some items that should be included in a workplace safety inspection checklist:
- Policies and Procedures – Employers should have clear policies and procedures in place that outline the responsibilities of employees and management in maintaining a safe and healthy workplace. These policies should cover topics such as hazard identification and reporting, emergency response procedures, incident investigation and reporting, and PPE use.
- Training – All employees should receive appropriate training on workplace safety, including hazard identification, safe work practices, and emergency response procedures. Employers should ensure that training is provided to new employees and that refresher training is provided as needed.
- Record Keeping – Employers should maintain proper records of workplace safety inspections, hazard assessments, incident investigations, and employee training. These records should be kept in a secure location and should be readily available for review by regulatory agencies.
- Workplace layout and design – ensure that walkways are clear, emergency exits are clearly marked and accessible, and there is adequate lighting.
- Electrical safety – ensure that electrical equipment is regularly inspected and tested and that all electrical hazards are identified and addressed.
- Chemical and biological hazards – ensure that all hazardous chemicals are properly labelled, stored, and handled, and that appropriate PPE is provided and used.
- Fire safety – ensure that fire extinguishers are in good working condition and easily accessible and that emergency evacuation procedures are in place and regularly reviewed.
- Manual handling – ensure that employees are trained in safe manual handling techniques, that loads are properly secured and lifted, and that appropriate equipment is provided and used.
- Workplace ergonomics – ensure that workstations are set up correctly, that ergonomic hazards are identified and addressed, and that employees are trained in safe work practices.
- Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) – ensure that appropriate PPE is provided and used for the hazards present in the workplace and that it is properly maintained and stored.In addition to these items, it is important to tailor the workplace safety inspection checklist to the specific hazards present in your workplace. For example, if your workplace uses machinery, it is important to include inspections of the machinery in your checklist.It is also important to ensure that the workplace safety inspection checklist is regularly reviewed and updated as needed. As new hazards arise or as the workplace changes, the checklist should be updated to reflect these changes.By using a comprehensive workplace safety inspection checklist, employers can identify and address potential hazards in the workplace and ensure compliance with legislative requirements. A workplace safety inspection checklist can also help to promote a culture of safety in the workplace, where employees are encouraged to identify and report hazards and work together to maintain a safe and healthy workplace.