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Workplace Inspections Toolbox Talk

Learn how regular jobsite inspections reduce incidents and keep workers safer.

Workplace Inspections Safety Talk

Frequent workplace inspections are a necessary safety precaution on the jobsite. Closely monitoring workspaces for potential hazards prevents avoidable accidents and keeps crew members safer and more productive.

Why you should conduct regular inspections

Conducting multiple daily inspections may seem repetitive, but safety issues can happen at any time due to a large variety of factors that are difficult to predict. With regular inspections, potential concerns can be identified early and resolved immediately to avoid incidents no matter the cause.

There are a few basic types of hazards regular inspections help control.

Work area hazards

Work area hazards can vary widely depending on the type of work that’s being done. On a construction site, many different dangerous scenarios are possible, some that require extreme caution like working from great heights or handling hazardous materials. Inspections verify that every worksite is free from unnecessary physical, chemical, ergonomical, or environmental danger.

Work area hazards are often caused by inattention. Crew members may forget or fail to follow safety guidelines while they are busy with project tasks. It is the designated inspector’s responsibility to identify lapses in procedure.

Other hazards are caused by environmental factors. For example, a tree branch may be in the way of a ladder, or there may be an increased risk of slips and falls due to a recent storm.

Common work area hazards include:

  • Misplaced or broken tools and objects

  • Faulty or unsafely operated equipment

  • Too many people in the workspace

  • Too few crew members in the workspace

  • Environmental hazards

  • Bad weather

  • Fire hazards

  • Electrical hazards

  • Missing on incorrect labels

  • Housekeeping issues

To avoid injury, only the people, objects, and equipment that are needed to safely complete the task at hand should be present in the work area at any given time.

worker inspecting material on construction site.

Biological Hazards

In addition to workspace hazards and weather conditions, contractors need to be aware of insects and animals, especially when working outdoors. When these creatures enter the work area, they may cause distractions or damage materials. They may also bite or scratch workers, and they sometimes carry diseases or produce toxins that trigger dangerous allergic reactions.

In particular, workplace inspectors should look for signs of:

  • Spiders

  • Ticks

  • Wasps and bees

  • Mosquitos

  • Snakes

When dealing with biological hazards, special personal protective equipment may be required.

How to conduct regular inspections

Inspections must be conducted thoroughly. Organized construction safety checklists can help workplace inspectors make sure they’re paying attention to the right details.

Inspection frequency

Before each workday begins, all work areas must be inspected. As the day progresses, inspections should continue periodically, and a final inspection should be conducted once all the day’s tasks are finished.

In addition to these daily workspace inspections, construction companies may conduct weekly, monthly, or annual inspections that address specific safety concerns in greater detail. Likewise, governmental regulations may dictate that a health and safety representative from the state must perform their own inspections of a company’s worksites on a periodic basis.

Resolving issues

Any time inspectors identify a hazard, work must be stopped in the affected area until the issue is resolved. All workers must be notified of any hazards immediately.

Once the work area is deemed safe, progress may resume.

Inspection documentation

Inspection results and any safety hazards that are identified during the inspection process should be carefully documented. Keeping a detailed record of historical data (like an annotated construction site safety checklist) can help resolve disputes if an accident occurs and help construction companies improve overall safety processes.

Personal protective equipment

All crew members should wear their personal protective equipment (PPE) at the appropriate times. It is designed to protect workers according to the job they are performing.

Proper PPE use should be monitored along with workplace hazards during regular inspections.

Some common types of PPE are:

  • Earplugs

  • Steel toe boots

  • Safety vests

  • Coveralls

  • Hard hats

  • Work gloves

  • Face shield

  • Rubber gloves

  • Harnesses

  • Eye protection

It’s important to remember that, while it helps protect workers, wearing PPE does not replace the need for following other safety guidelines.

Common risks on a construction site

Construction work is often physically demanding. Contractors are frequently be susceptible to the following risks on the jobsite:

Inspections help construction crews complete tasks safely and effectively. By reducing workplace hazards, regular inspections protect workers from these and other common risks.

The importance of site inspections

When workers become complacent, incidents happen. Safety awareness is essential for preventing illness and injury.

Regular inspections reinforce safety rules and help workers stay on track. Don’t skip this crucial aspect of construction risk management.

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