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Focus Items for Work Inspections

The word “inspection” does not typically conjure images of safety checks but as a way to determine if laws and standards are being followed. However, work area inspections are, indeed, an important basic safe work practice.

Inspections should be conducted each day before work begins. While many work areas remain the same day after day, many others are constantly changing. Therefore, it is important to inspect both daily.

Four Focus Items for Jobsite Inspections

1. Tripping hazards – Clutter, tools, or other objects on the floor or hanging from shelves can cause workplace injuries. Unfortunately, tripping is a common cause of workplace injuries. Tripping hazards are also some of the easiest to eliminate.

2. Tool condition – Injuries occur when old, abused tools are used on the jobsite, despite not functioning correctly or being downright broken. Inspect hand tools daily for chipping, broken handles, bending, or improper functioning.

3. Hand hazards – Common hand injuries include cuts, burns, fractures and crushed-by. It is a huge problem. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that more than 1 million workers are treated annually for hand injuries in emergency rooms. Unguarded equipment, pinch points,

hot surfaces, moving parts and dropped objects are all hazards. Look for these hazards during daily inspections.

4. Work-area organization – Complacency in workplace organizations can lead to mishaps. Take a look at your work area and determine if there are overhead hazards, heavy objects that must be lifted, important materials and parts getting damaged because of where they are stored. Then, evaluate how you can change the workspace to make it more efficient and safer for those who work there.

Why Workplace Inspections are Important

  • Identify potential hazards
  • Listen to concerns from supervisors and workers
  • Gain an understanding of jobs and tasks
  • Recommend corrective actions
  • Monitor personal protective equipment, engineering controls, policies, procedures and administrative controls.

Every worksite inspection should examine who, what, where, when and how, paying special attention to items most likely to lead to unsafe or unhealthy conditions. This could be due to vibration, impact, wear, stress, corrosion, heat, or chemical reactions.

Include restrooms, parking lots, locker rooms and storage areas in your inspections.

Look For These Hazards

  • Physical hazards caused by energy, weather, noise, electricity, radiation and pressure
  • Chemical hazards caused by gas, vapor, solid, liquid, fume, or mist
  • Biological hazards caused by viruses, organisms, parasites, bacteria, or fungi
  • Psychological hazards that can impact mental health or wellbeing, such as stress, violence, or bullying
  • Ergonomic hazards, including repetitive, forceful movements, improperly designed workstations, improper work methods, poor or awkward posture, tools and equipment
  • Safety hazards that may be caused by unsafe work practices, inadequate machine guards, unsafe workplace conditions

How long daily inspections take is dependent on the job site. Inspections are not effective if they include only a quick look around. Consider a daily checklist, so nothing gets overlooked.

If hazards are found, shut down or lockdown hazardous items until the situation is remedied. Look up, down and around and take note of every hazard and what must be done to alleviate risk.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.