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Here's how to use safety inspections to assess your workplace

by , 11 August 2014
Do your employees follow your health and safety rules? How do you know if they do? Have you checked?

If not, it's time for a safety inspection. This is the best way to observe your employees at work and see if they follow the rules.

Since this means you need to carefully assess the way everyone and everything in your workplace works, here's how to do one...

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Do you have more than 20 employees?
Don't ignore this health and safety obligation or else!
The DoL will slap you with a R50 000 fine or 1 year in jail if you don't have a health and safety representative. 

Assess your workplace during a safety inspection by doing the following

This first thing you need to do is determine what you want to inspect. It may be how your employees use procedures and equipment, or it may be the condition of your equipment or workplace.
This is important because you need to ensure you have the right documents for the inspection. You need to use the health and safety documents that relate to the specific area so you can compare the documents to what you see.
For example, these documents may outline your safety procedures. You can then compare this to what your employees do in real life.
These documents include:
- PPE rosters;
- Training registers;
- Training manuals;
- Equipment maintenance plans;
- Duty rosters; and
- Job descriptions. 
Once you've decided on what you want to inspect and you have the documents it's time to get on site.

Three steps you should follow when you're on site for a safety inspection

Step #1: Quietly observe your employees at work. See the general state of the working environment and if everything runs well.
Step #2: Focus on the specific area you want to inspect. If, for example, you're assessing your employees' compliance with rules, observe the way an employee uses machinery.
Look at how he begins his task, what he does during the task and what he does after. 
Step #3: Compare your employee's action to your health and safety procedural manual. Determine whether or not your employee followed the safety rules during his task.
Observe several employees to get a balanced reading of the situations. It's the best way to know if there are any problems of this nature in your workplace.
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