Safety Inspections could be carried out by utilising someone from another team, department or branch but could also be by a totally independent safety professional. We as humans tend to be blinkered, we see what we expect to see and don't see the unexpected. How many times have we stood on the bairns toy, kicked the dogs water bowl, trapped a finger in a window handle? We all do it, especially if we are concentrating on a particular task such as doing the dishes. We are all aware of the saying "familiarity breeds contempt"
First of all, what is a safety inspection?
A safety inspection is an on-site walk through to identify potential hazards to occupants and personnel and options for remedial action. It should also take into account equipment on the site, process, maintenance, temporary, fire fighting, detection and safety including relevant signage, access and egress, emergency exits.
Why carry one out?
- Compliance, under the health and safety at work act the employer has to provide a safe working environment including access and egress to it. Can you guarantee this without inspection?
- Good practice and for positive safety culture, it demonstrates to the workforce the companies commitment to health and safety.
- property insurance issues. ... inspections can help to prevent future incidents, injury/illness, or property/equipment damage.
- By having them scheduled, documented and acted upon as part of your safety policy it could help in reducing insurance costs
Other advantages - planning
In any business or organisation things don’t always go to plan. You need to prepare to deal with unexpected events in order to reduce their consequences. Workers and managers will be more competent in dealing with the effects of an accident or emergency if you have effective plans in place that are regularly tested. You should monitor and review any measures you have put in place to help control risk and prevent accidents and incidents from happening. Findings from your inspections can form the basis of action to prevent accident or incident from happening.
The advantages of employing an independent professional
- Shows commitment by management to health and safety.
- Fresh eyes which are trained in hazard identification.
- Unfamiliar with the work site which reduces the blinkered effect of seeing what we expect to see but will also hopefully see the unexpected.
- Familiarity with legislation.
- Can bring experiences of inspecting elsewhere.
- Under no perceived management pressure.
- Work force more likely to highlite any problems.
- Carried out as a professional job and not as a tick in the box role.