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New article – OHS inspections – 5 tips for developing an effective checklist

Health and Safety for Beginners

OHS inspections – 5 tips for developing an effective checklist

Purpose of Inspection

How do you know that your organisation is actually doing the things you say you do if you don’t check?

Inspections play an important checking or ‘monitoring’ role within an OHS management systems (OHSMS). Inspection is also a widely used method to monitor the implementation and effectiveness of risk controls.

Within mature organisations, inspections are utilised in variety of circumstances. Two examples include plant & equipment inspections and work area inspections.

Plant and Equipment Inspections

Plant and equipment is inspected:

  • To ensure it meets requirements before it is accepted on site,
  • As part of routine maintenance, to ensure it functions correctly and remains free from unsafe wear,
  • To ensure it is in a fit for use condition (e.g. forklift pre-start checks, safety harness pre-use inspection),
  • To ensure it is undamaged after a potentially damaging event (e.g. after dropping a ladder or gas detection monitor),
  • Periodically throughout its life to ensure it remains in a legally acceptable condition (e.g. pressure vessels, electrical leads).
Work Areas Inspections

Work areas are inspected:

  • By safety committees and/or risk assessment teams to identify hazards,
  • By maintenance personnel or technicians to ensure equipment is functioning correctly and is free from signs of wear or damage,
  • By supervisor to ensure controls are in place (e.g. guarding or bunding) and housekeeping is maintained,
  • By management to ensure continued compliance with management system requirements, safe work procedures etc, as well as to observe the behaviours of personnel.
Preparation and Planning

To ensure the most value out of workplace safety inspections it is important that inspectors can easily identify and record what does and doesn’t meet requirements. A good part of this comes from training and experience but a well developed checklist will dramatically improve the output of these inspections.

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