Loss Control Supervisor
Inspections should be conducted in an organization to locate and report existing and potential unsafe conditions or activities that, if left uncontrolled, have the capacity to cause injuries and/or property dam-age. Depending on the conditions surrounding the process, an inspection can be viewed negatively as fault-finding, with emphasis on criticism or positively as fact-finding, with emphasis on locating hazards and developing plans for eliminating hazards that can have adverse effects. The latter is more effective.
Purpose of Inspection
The primary purpose of inspection is to detect potential hazards so they can be corrected before an unin-tentional injury or illness or loss occurs. Inspections can determine conditions that need to be corrected or improved to bring operations up to acceptable standards, from both a safety and operational stand-point. Secondary purposes are to improve operations and thus to increase efficiency, effectiveness and profitability.
Although management ultimately has the responsibility for inspecting the workplace, authority for carrying out the actual inspecting process extends throughout the organization. Typically supervisors, foreman, and employees fulfill an inspection function, but so do various departments.
Types of Inspection
Inspection can be classified as one of two types, continuous or interval. Continuous inspection is con-ducted by employees, supervisors and maintenance personnel as part of their job responsibilities. This involves noting an apparently or potentially hazardous condition or unsafe procedure and either correcting it immediately or making a report to initiate corrective action. Continuous inspection of personal protec-tive equipment is especially important. This type of inspection is sometimes called informal because it does not conform to a set schedule, plan, or checklist.
Interval inspections are planned inspections at specific intervals and are what most people regard as "real" safety and health inspections. They are deliberate, thorough, and systematic procedures that per-mit examination of specific items or conditions. They follow an established procedure and use checklists for routine items.
Planning for Inspection
An effective safety and health inspection program requires the following elements: sound knowledge of the facility, knowledge of relevant standards, regulations and codes, systematic inspection steps, and a method of reporting, evaluating and using the data.
Before instituting an inspection program, these five questions should be answered: What items need to be inspected? What aspects of each item need to be examined? What conditions need to be inspected? How often must items be inspected? Who will conduct the inspection?
Writing the Inspection Report
Every inspection must be documented in a clearly written report furnished by the inspector. Without a complete and accurate report, the inspection would be little more than an interesting sightseeing tour. Inspection reports are usually of three types: Emergency – made without delay when a critical or cata-strophic hazard is probable. Periodic – covers unsatisfactory nonemergency conditions observed during the planned periodic inspection. This report should be made within 24 hours of the inspection. Summary – lists all items of previous periodic reports for a given time.
The written report should include the name of the department inspected, date and time of inspection, the names and titles of those performing the inspection, the date of the report, and the names of those to whom the report was made.
Follow-up for Corrective Action
After the inspection report has been written and disseminated, the inspection process starts to return benefits. The information acquired and the recommendations made are valueless unless management takes corrective action. Information and recommendations provide the basis for establishing priorities and implementing programs that will reduce unintentional injuries, improve conditions, raise morale, and increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the operation.