Many hazards affect a work area, including housekeeping issues, faulty tools and equipment, missing machine guards, electrical problems, sharp objects, missing labels, and fire hazards. A hazard control program that includes a workplace inspection, routine inspections, and preventive maintenance procedures on equipment and systems should prevent many hazards that can cause accidents, serious illness, or injury.

Discussion Points:
• What are items you look for during your workplace inspection?
• What do you do if you find a problem in your work area during an inspection?
• What is a hazard you discovered while conducting a workplace inspection?
• Are you prepared for an OSHA inspection?
• Specific checklists can be used to keep the workplace safe.

A Safety Program should include a worksite safety inspection used to identify potential hazards. This workplace inspection includes observing workers and procedures; environmental factors such as lighting, temperature, ventilation, noise, and vibration; equipment, tools, materials, and chemical hazards; and accessibility of manufacturers’ safety manuals and safety data sheets. Past inspection records are an excellent source of information. They show previous hazards and the recommended corrective actions. The health and safety committee can review the inspections and monitor the progress of the recommendations.

After the workplace inspection has been completed and documented, routine inspections using checklists specific to the site, equipment, or task can be used to keep the workplace safe. The frequency of these inspections depends on the workplace hazard level and may be required daily, quarterly, or annually. OSHA inspectors can visit the worksite without warning. Employers must be prepared for an inspection at any time. Employers should select someone who will serve as the point of contact. They must be prepared to access documentation and know how to respond to questions asked by the inspector. Employers who understand the protocol inspectors follow should be confident that they are prepared for when an OSHA inspector visits their facility. Safety inspections ensure equipment and tools are in good working order and defective equipment is placed out of service. Protocol and procedures not followed and hazards not corrected can lead to accidents, injuries, violations, and written citations.

As always, be safe out there!