Do A Workplace Safety Inspection

In any effective safety program, the workplace safety inspection plays a central role in identifying potentially hazardous situations, establishing clear evacuation paths and instituting preventive measures. Safety inspections should be accomplished at regular intervals. Moreover, sound policies and procedures must be in place to ensure hazard reporting and elimination plus establishment of accountability. In the workplace, everyone is responsible for following good safety practices, and it all begins with the safety inspection.


1. Inspect the general environment. Assure that walking surfaces are clean and clear of obstruction or slip hazards. Inspect stairwells for presence of handrails, lighting and general conditions. Check for adequate lighting in workstations and common areas. Assure that electrical cords are in good condition, properly grounded, not daisy-chained and free of tripping hazards. Make certain that all hazardous waste materials are stored in proper containers and labeled. Limit height of stacked materials to prevent collapse. Assure that floor leaders and other designated safety personnel are clearly identified. Ensure that exterior grounds are in good order, parking areas are well maintained and proper outdoor illumination is available. Keep walkways, roads and parking lots free of ice and snow.

2. Check equipment. Assure that inspection certificates are current and displayed where required, such as on elevators and boilers. Review preventive maintenance contracts for compliance. Check for leaks, exposed wires, excessive wear or other indications of potential equipment hazards. Be sure that the area around equipment is clear and free of obstructions. Assure that mechanical safeguards, such as eye guards or shields, are in place and in working order. Check for adequate ventilation. Make sure that chemical washstations are available and clearly marked.

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3. Inspect evacuation routes. Check emergency exit signs to ensure that they are visible and properly lighted. Assure that hallways and egress paths are free of storage or other obstructions. Make sure that exit doors are operable and equipped with panic hardware. Check emergency lighting. Ensure that evacuation floor plans are posted. Check for signage warning that elevators are not to be used in a fire emergency. Ensure that emergency phone numbers are clearly posted.

4. Check for fire safety. Test the fire alarm system. Assure that fire alarms and fire extinguishers are visible and accessible. Check annual servicing intervals for fire extinguishers. Ensure adequate vertical clearance beneath sprinkler heads. Assure that fire doors, such as those in stairwells, are kept closed unless they are self-closing. Check any authorized electric space heaters for proper clearance.

5. Assess disaster preparedness. Ensure that all applicable federal, state and local standards have been met regarding preparations for earthquakes, tornadoes and other large-scale disasters. Be certain that assembly areas, such as strengthened interior rooms, are well marked.