Construction health and safety inspections are the most valuable in avoiding accidents, conflicts, errors, bad habits and hazards. Project managers and safety officers inspect the worksite on a daily basis to observe works and tasks in progress. They document and report non-conformities and potential risks and enforce necessary corrective actions to prevent accidents or injuries from happening.
In the EU, occupational safety and health is a top priority and has contributed to the boost in performance and productivity of the construction industry. Robust occupational safety and health policies have prevented construction-related illnesses, disorders and accidents while positively impacting the financial aspects of a construction business. Focusing on health and safety inspections translate into the overall prevention of incidents that could negatively impact your workers’ wellbeing and productivity.
Scheduling health and safety inspections
Ideally, certain health and safety inspections should be part of your site diary or daily construction logs. These inspections spot worksite risks and hazardous conditions for reporting for immediate corrective actions. Routine formal inspections, however, are done weekly and monthly by the project manager, safety officer, or third-party representatives and are formally documented depending on their required frequency.
More on quality control and assurance inspections and the related building controls in our article on why construction inspections are important.
Best practices for on-site health and safety inspections
In conducting health and safety on-site inspections, here are a few things to consider:
- Focus on any immediate risk or imminent danger. Other objects or tasks can wait until the final report.
- Cease operation for any hazardous item or activity that cannot be brought down to a safe standard operating level until corrected.
- Be thorough with your inspections. Scrutinise everything in a methodical way.
- Record all observations on the spot before anything is forgotten.
- Ask questions without disrupting work activities.
- Do not operate equipment but ask the operators for equipment demonstration. Don’t let your lack of knowledge overlook items.
- Assess operational factors—work pace, how work is organised, etc.—and how they impact safety.
- Capture photos to support your observations.
- Discuss appropriate corrections and controls for problems, accidents and risks generated from given situations.
Related reading: Quality inspections as pillar to your construction quality management.
Health and safety checklists for optimum on-site inspections
The ultimate way to identify risks and hazards is to have a checklist as you do your inspection. Having templates of your health and safety checklists while you are on-site ensures that you do not miss anything while you do your inspections. Your checklists make sure that you get your inspections done as specified. Your basic health and safety checklists should include inspection templates for:
- Tools and equipment. Are your tools and equipment working properly on-site? Are they being used correctly for the job? Are people using them trained to handle them?
- Personal protective equipment. Are your workers equipped with the right gear? Are your workers wearing correctly to perform jobs? Are they in good working condition?
- Protective devices and signs. Do you have signs put up conspicuously and are they easy to read? Are protective devices in place?
- Electrical safety procedures. Are electrical cords and cables intact and placed safely and off the floor? Is your temporary electricity safely installed? Do you have proper lighting installed?
- Fall protection methods. Is your fall protection properly set up?
- Scaffolding. Is your scaffolding correctly and securely installed to your structure?
How digital health and safety checklists enable best practices for your inspections
Having digital checklists for your health and safety inspection improves your health and safety performance by up to 47% and enables best practices in your on-site inspection and reporting through:
- Collaborating efficiently in real time. Having digital checklists allows you to manage your safety inspections in real time and communicate needed corrective actions immediately. By communicating information and data instantly, you can make better decisions in risk management.
- Having better control processes. Your digital checklists allows you to standardise your health and safety controls with the added flexibility of adjusting when needed. Your health and safety checklists generates inspection reports that enable you to set baselines, identify trends and improve your overall performance while keeping your compliance with standards and certifications in check.
- Centralised monitoring for better accuracy. Digital checklists allows all your health and safety inspection data to be kept in one single place making sure you monitor all on-site information for better accuracy, transparency and continuity of all your on-site activities.
- Accurate detection of non-conformities. Digital checklists allows an on-site inspection process at exact locations. These exact inspections qualify accurate detection of non-conformities that allow real-time tracking of corrective actions and risk mitigation.
Further reading: Progress inspections and project status reporting in construction.
Remember, your health and safety inspections and their resulting reports are the cornerstone for corrective actions and follow-ups that ward off incidents before they can occur. Having your inspections in a digital form makes your processes easy and creates a seamless flow while saving you time from transcribing site notes and transferring pictures into a Word or Excel report. If you feel lost where to start with your health and safety inspections, feel free to use our safety inspection templates here or you can learn more about the topic by downloading our ebook about QHSE on site.
APROPLAN is a cloud-based construction project management app that helps you standardise your health and safety inspections in your construction projects for better inspection accuracy and greater risk management.