Workplace Inspections and Risk Assessments

Workplace inspections should paint a picture of the current state of your workplace’s health and safety. This will allow you to correct any hazards that do appear before they worsen, or someone is hurt. One of the ways that we do identify these risks or hazards is through a Risk Assessment.

What should my workplace inspection include?

There are procedures that must be present in every workplace inspection program. Your workplace equipment should be inspected daily, new equipment should be tested, departments should perform weekly and/or monthly inspections, and you must carry out inspections when you introduce a new work process.

What to do during an inspection:

  • Use a checklist to make sure that your inspection is is consistent with previous inspections.
  • Consider the associated hazards with your job/industry.
  • Examine whether your workers are following safe work procedures. Are they wearing the necessary equipment?
  • Field any concerns your workers may have about health and safety in your workplace.
  • Document any unsafe actions or conditions that you find.

What to do after an inspection:

  • Address serious hazards you discover as quickly as possible. This is a legal requirement.
  • For less serious hazards, ensure that you prioritize them and delegate the responsibility.
  • For action items with a longer timeline, make sure you follow up on progress.
  • Ensure that the health and safety committee has access to the inspection reports, and reviews both the inspection report and the process.
  • Report the findings of the inspection to your workers.

Things to note

Throughout the inspection process, there are important things to ask yourself.  We encourage you to document and categorize your answers.

  • Are there problems mentioned in the previous report that have not been remedied?
  • Are workers following safe work procedures?
  • Is equipment in your workplace properly maintained?
  • Are materials being properly stored?
  • Has liquid or grease collected on the floors?
  • Does an area not have a warning sign where there should be one?

Risk Assessments: What you need to know

Risk Assessments allow you to spot and resolve any potential risks in your workplace. Larger organizations should conduct a Risk Assessment with the help of their Joint Health and Safety Committee or health and safety representative. While smaller organizations can conduct one themselves if they feel confident in doing so.

If your workplace has multiple locations, it's important that you complete a Risk Assessment for each location. The hazards and risks will vary from place to place.

Your Risk Assessment should determine the level of each risk discovered. The level of risk is calculated based on two metrics: level of probability and potential impact.

You should review your Risk Assessment regularly to ensure that the assessment meets the health and safety needs of your workplace as it is today. Please ensure that you check your Risk Assessment yearly at least. However, you should also review it when you introduce new equipment or materials to your workplace and when you implement a new process.

Consider who you're protecting

When conducting a Risk Assessment, you need to consider who these risks may affect.

Certain groups like new and young workers, temporary workers, contractors, and solo workers are subject to different requirements under OHS regulation. It's important that you consider them and the implications of what would happen if they were to be injured due to a hazard in or around your workplace.

It’s important that you take the public's safety into account and whether these risks may affect them. And if you share a space with another business, you must ensure that you consider their safety.

Determine the level of risk

Your Risk Assessment should determine the level of each risk discovered.

WorkSafe BC recommends that you ask yourself the following questions: 

  • Who might be harmed? For example, are all workers exposed to the hazard, or is it a smaller number?
  • What kind of injury or illness could be suffered, and how severe would it most likely be?
  • How long are workers typically exposed to the hazard? The longer the exposure, the higher the risk.
  • How frequent is the exposure? If the task is repeated many times each shift, it usually carries more risk than a task done only occasionally.

Need help with workplace inspections and Risk Assessments?

Have a workplace inspection coming up? Need help conducting Risk Assessments? Don’t hesitate to contact us. Our expert advisors are on the line and ready to answer any questions that you may have. Call today at 1-888-719-4066.