Health & Safety Inspections
Accidents and occupational diseases are consequences of several factors that, when combined, lead to their occurrence. Therefore, it is fundamental to be able to identify and analyze risks that may cause them and, therefore, take the appropriate prevention and correction measures.
The Health & Safety inspections are aimed at detecting possible causes of accidents, with a view to taking or proposing measures that eliminate or neutralize the risks of accidents at work.
Safety inspections are primarily aimed at detecting risks and/or hazards of accidents and enabling control measures to be put in place for items that are out of safety and quality compliance in the work environment.
Thus, Health & Safety inspections act to “avoid and/or eliminate” possible risks that may lead to occupational accidents and diseases. That is, workplace inspections are one of the most important procedures for anticipating the weather in relation to Occupational Health and Safety.
Therefore, it is fundamental that professionals responsible for the inspections adopt procedures that lead to identifying low, medium and large risks that may be the causes of accidents.
In this way, Health & Safety inspections are continuous practices in search of:
· Inappropriate work methods
· Environmental risks
· Verification of the effectiveness of preventive measures in operation
The basis of any inspection and analysis should involve individuals, groups of operations and processes. Within the objective of an analysis of several risk factors and accidents, the most accepted methodological proposals involve the identification of the agent of the accident.
Types of Inspections
By identifying possible factors that could cause accidents, it is possible to take immediate action and eliminate inherent risks in work areas. Safety inspections can be done for a variety of reasons, with different objectives and programmed at varying times and intervals. These can be: general, routine, periodic, occasional, official and special. Let’s get a better understanding of each one:
These are carried out throughout the company and involve all sectors. In general, inspections are carried out by engineers, occupational safety technicians, physicians, and social workers. General inspections should be repeated at regular intervals.
Routine inspections are those performed frequently within the company. Thus, those in charge of the survey investigate whether there are common problems or errors in activities, equipment, processes, work methods, and environmental factors.
Routine inspections lead to the identification of defects in equipment, employee attitudes towards work situations, etc. In general, it is the most common type of inspection and must be adopted in the daily routine of all workers in the area of occupational health and safety.
These inspections are performed by government labour bodies or insurance companies. In this case, it is very important that the company is aware of all work safety and health control procedures, in order to inform the supervisory bodies about measures that are being taken or even pending to avoid risks and accidents in the workplace.
The periodic inspections are those carried out in certain periods of time, aiming to detect unsafe conditions, which of course arise due to wear of parts, use of tools, depreciation of machines and equipment. It is worth noting that some inspections are mandatory by law, such as those relating to hazardous equipment such as boilers and safety equipment like fire extinguishers and others.
This type of inspection seeks to identify presumed risks, which require specialised professionals to perform measurements and tests on devices. Abnormal work situations may be detected and pose a risk to health and safety.
In general, it is a more technical and meticulous inspection type, thus specialised equipment and applications are required. Examples of special inspections that can be measured would be the measurement of environmental noise, the number of toxic particles in air suspension, etc.
The best way to control each step in the security inspection process is through a checklist. By scheduling the activities of surveys (general, routine, periodical, etc.), it is possible to inspect in the right time and to identify the nonconformities that may represent risks to the health and safety of the workers.
With a checklist, it is possible to work out a schedule of what needs to be done - on the right day and time - to avoid forgetfulness and annoyance. OHS Assist is a health & safety management application that optimises the routine inside the company and increases the security, putting in practice measures of correction and neutralisation of the risks.
Objectives of Health & Safety Inspections
There are different preventive analytical techniques, such as the observation of the work, the analysis of the worker, the operating procedures and finally, the safety inspections, which are the analytical preventive technique par excellence.
The Health & Safety Inspection is an analytical safety technique that consists of the analysis carried out by directly observing the facilities, equipment and production processes to identify existing hazards and evaluate the risks.
When we talk about facilities, equipment, machines, and production processes, we refer not only to their conditions and technical characteristics but also to work methodologies, attitudes and human behaviour, the aptitude of workers for the job they perform and the organisational system.
Through the Safety Inspections, the hazards of accidents, occupational diseases and those of the worker’s dysfunctions that can cause losses of any kind can be identified, analysed, and subsequently, corrected. OHS Assist is a Safety Management App that assists companies with their compliance with occupational health and safety, health & safety reporting, and training. This Safety Mobile App is likewise beneficial in promoting overall health & safety management awareness.
Moreover, it is important to emphasise its preventive nature, since it can and must be done before the damage or loss is manifested, measures can be taken to prevent developing the negative potential of the hazards detected.
The Health & Safety Inspection is the best known analytical technique prior to the accident/undesirable event and is used as a means to detect hazards and control risks that may affect people or property and is considered essential in any prevention program.
In addition to the main objective of the inspections, detecting situations of risk before their concretion in damages, the realisation of the inspection can meet the following objectives:
1. Identify unforeseen problems during the design or analysis of the work
Health and Safety requirements that were not taken into account during the design, and hazards that were not discovered during the job or task analysis, become apparent when the workplace is inspected and the workers are observed.
2. Identify deficiencies of the work teams
These deficiencies can be caused by normal wear and tear, as well as abuse or mistreatment of equipment. Inspections help find out if the equipment has worn down to the limit of its condition; if its capacity is deficient or has been used improperly.
3. Identify inappropriate actions of workers that may have consequences
Since inspections include both site conditions and work practices, they help detect methods and practices that have the potential for harm.
4. Identify the undesired effects of changes introduced to the production process or materials
The processes generally change in relation to their original design. Changes are introduced as different materials are available or as materials or original spare parts are depleted. These changes occur gradually and their effects may go unnoticed until an inspection reveals them.
5. Propose solutions to problems or deficiencies found
Since the object of Prevention is to avoid and control risks, by studying and proposing corrective measures that eliminate or minimise risks, the ultimate aims of Prevention are met.
6. Demonstrate the commitment assumed by management
This activity fosters contact and demonstration of interest in the safety and health of personnel. By becoming involved in the inspection, detection and correction activities, management and senior management send an unequivocal message to the workers.
Its direct purpose is, therefore, to determine the unsafe acts and dangerous conditions that are present in the execution of the work and correcting the dangerous circumstances. It can also eliminate the risk, or if this is not possible, control the Risk Factors to ensure that the degree of danger does not exceed what could be termed tolerated or admitted risk.