How do you inspect?

“Primarily, inspections that are well planned and thoroughly executed are used to identify hazardous conditions before they result in an accident (Blake 92).” You should look for conditions, procedures, and practices that if left uncorrected can lead to an accident. “But, by identifying the systemic causes of the hazards, you may eliminate the reasons the hazard occurred” (Fanning, 2003).

Secondly, you want to sell the safety program by demonstrating that the program cares about the workers. This is done by speaking with employees and listening to their concerns. “If your approach is helpful rather than harmful, you will establish credibility for yourself and the safety program” (Fanning, 2003).

Make sure you show up with the proper personal protective equipment for the workplace. “You must lead by example and wear this personal protective equipment when you are in a hazardous area. Along with this protective equipment, you will want to get the infamous clipboard, pencils, erasers, a 12′ tape measure, and a few pieces of test equipment. The kinds and types of test equipment will depend on your training and experience.  At the very least, you can get a testing device that will check the wiring and a device that will tell you when electricity is present” (Fanning, 2003).

“The in‑briefing is just an informal briefing to give you an opportunity to let management know what you are going to do and how you are going to do it. Now, no matter who leads you around the area, you have gotten the person in charge involved. Start out with the most obvious; cleanliness” (Fanning, 2003). Getting the place clean and orderly will clear up several “small” deficiencies. You will see cleanliness referred to as housekeeping in most standards.

“Getting the workplace in order can do two things for you: first, the supervisor will see some affirmative action taken right away, and everyone will benefit from the visible improvements in the workplace. This first impression will be important later when you want to try to tackle harder issues and problems. Secondly, a clean, orderly workplace promotes efficiency and enhances pride among those that work there. All of which can lead to a reduction in the number of accidents experienced in this job area” (Fanning, 2003).

As you do the inspection, try to make it a learning experience for the person leading you around “by pointing out what you are looking for, and when you find a hazard, discuss with them why it is a hazard and how they may correct it” (Fanning, 2003).

“As you find a deficiency, note it in a log that includes the building and room number along with the OSHA or another standard that was violated” (Fanning, 2003). As you finish the inspection, make sure to answer any questions the supervisor may have and give them a draft copy of the deficiency log. Remember, you are there to help them, and if they can get a few things corrected before their boss sees the report, it will help your cause, which is to reduce hazards.

If the supervisor did not go with you, go back into their office and tell him what you found both, good and bad, and leave with a promise to help him solve these problems. This is the out briefing. “Remember not to promise to solve them, only to help him solve them. You must leave the out briefing with the supervisor knowing what is wrong, where it is wrong and what they must do to correct it” (Fanning, 2003). Make sure they understand they own the hazards, not you.


Fanning, Fred. Basic Safety Administration: A Handbook for the New Safety Specialist. American Society of Safety Engineers, 2nd edition, Des Plaines, USA, Jun 2003.


About Fred Fanning Author

Fred Fanning currently writes biweekly on his blog His published works include the peer-reviewed book Basic Safety Administration-A Handbook for the New Safety Specialist. Fred also authored two editions of the peer-reviewed chapter Safety Training and Documentation Principles that was published in the bestselling Safety Professional Handbook and the Safety Professional Handbook Management Applications. He coauthored the peer-reviewed chapter Safety Training with Christine Fiori, Ph.D., PE, published in the bestselling Construction Safety Management and Engineering, second edition edited by Darryl C. Hill, Ph.D., CSP. Fred also has several self-published books. He has a series called Fred’s Safety Shorts. This is a collection of twelve books on topics related to safety published with Kindle Direct Publishing. Fred self-published another six books using both CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform and Kindle Direct Publishing. He has authored fifty-eight articles in various publications on the topics of safety and health and project management. Fred has earned several writing awards for his non-fiction work. Fred has two novels A Walk Among the Dead and Mystery at Devil’s Elbow.
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