Safety inspections

Inspect your workplace regularly

In addition to correcting any hazards that you observe from day to day, set aside time for regular workplace safety inspections. Regular inspections will help you identify hazards so you can assess and control any risks to workers. Inspection is an ongoing task because the workplace is always changing.

When should inspections occur?

You need to inspect your workplace at regular intervals that will prevent the development of unsafe working conditions. In hospitality small businesses this is typically once a month. You also need to inspect your workplace when there has been an accident or when you've added a new work process.

Who should conduct them?

Inspections should be conducted by a supervisor and a worker. If possible, the work safety representative or members of the joint work safety committee should be involved.

How should they be conducted?

During an inspection, identify unsafe conditions and acts that may cause injury so you can take corrective measures. Use guidelines including:

  • use a checklist to ensure that the inspection is thorough and consistent with previous inspections;
  • ask what hazards are associated with the job that is being inspected or that would be performed in that work area;
  • observe how workers perform tasks and do they follow safe work procedures and use personal protective equipment as required;
  • ask workers how they perform their tasks;
  • talk to workers about what they're doing and ask them about concerns they may have about health and safety; and,
  • record any unsafe actions or conditions observed.

Prepare for inspections

Before starting an inspection:

  • review the previous inspection report; and
  • make sure that any problems identified in that report have been corrected.

Safety inspections should be carried out by a supervisor and a worker.

What should inspections focus on?

There are different ways to approach safety inspections, depending on the objectives of your health and safety program. For example, you can focus on the most common tasks your workers perform or on a specific issue addressed by your program, such as ergonomics. Some examples of things to look for include:

  • improper storage of materials, for example in front of emergency exits or electrical panels, or blocking aisles or stairs;
  • accumulation of liquid or grease on floors;
  • failure to put a sign or barrier near wet floors;
  • dull knives;
  • lack of guarding on mixers and other equipment
  • lack of visibility through swing doors; and
  • poor maintenance of equipment such as dollies and carts.

Safe work procedures

Check whether safe work procedures are being followed. For example, ask whether or not workers:

  • unplug the meat slicer when cleaning it
  • wear gloves when handling garbage;
  • use proper lifting techniques; and
  • know safe work procedures for working alone.

Get to the root of the problem

For example, if you see a wet floor ask: Why is the floor wet? Where is the water coming from? How long has it been like that? Possible explanations may include:

  • a water leak;
  • a job process that creates the problem; and
  • workers who need training and education on how to clean up the hazard.

Fix it right the first time and the problem shouldn't recur.

On this page