Thursday, November 23, 2006

Health and safety inspections

Inspections generally involve looking for physical evidence of how well health and safety is being managed. A general inspection of a premises is likely to involve people looking at the condition of premises, floors, passages, stairs, lighting, welfare and first aid facilities. These are all items that may considered to be low risk.

Inspections of higher risk items need to be more specific, and are often required by legislation. They include pressure vessels, lifting equipment, scaffolds, excavations and local exhaust ventilation.

The people carrying out inspections need to be suitably competent, and will usually use some form of inspection checklist. To be effective, inspections need to be:

* Properly planned so that they are carried out at a suitable frequency and address the key risk issues
* Record suitable remedial actions
* Not be restricted to the specific items, but used as an opportunity to make general observations (e.g. house keeping and cleanliness)

Results of inspections need to be reviewed periodically to identify any common features and trends. Also, the frequency of inspection may need to be varied, depending on findings.

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