Inspections are one the most proactive tools that safety and health committees will use in the reduction of incidents in the workplace. The safety committee is just one of several workplace parties that are involved in performing workplace inspections. The inspection involves not just the visual examination of the workplace and processes, but also inspection of the procedures used in the workplace as well. The workplace, and work processes and procedures, must be inspected on a scheduled basis in accordance with Section 7.4(5)(e) of The Workplace Safety and Health Act.
This would also include inspection of procedural documents including, but not limited to:
- emergency response plans
- job hazard analysis
- safe work procedures
- safety policies and related documentation
- Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System, or WHMIS).
Any other related documents that would affect the safety and health of workers in Manitoba workplaces may be subject to an inspection to ensure compliance.
Section 40(10) of The Workplace Safety and Health Act states that the safety and health committee has a duty to inspect the workplace at regular intervals, and Part 3.2.2 of the Workplace Safety and Health Regulation states that the members of a committee must inspect the workplace and the work processes and procedures at the workplace at least once before each regularly scheduled meeting of the committee.
Note that if your committee meets monthly, then the inspections would be done once a month as well.
The frequency of workplace inspections are also based on the level of risk in the workplace. For example, the level of risk in the steel industry is very high and that risk level will dictate the frequency of daily, weekly and monthly inspections as it pertains to the different types of activities performed in that industry. These inspections are maintenance- and production-driven to ensure compliance in high risk areas is controlled.
Inspections are a requirement of the employer, workers and the safety and health committee, and provide an opportunity for all workers to be involved in the internal responsibility system.
The key steps in conducting a formal inspection are:
- assembling a team
- planning the inspection
- carrying it out.