Workplace Safety Inspection Checklist

A workplace safety inspection checklist is an essential requirement for all employers to prevent any workplace hazards from occurring. It is the basic right of every employee to be provided with a safe and healthy working environment. If the employer does not provide his employees with this basic right, then legal action can be taken against him.

Thus, to prevent any workplace hazards from happening, workplace safety inspection checklists are used to identify any potential workplace hazards that can occur. These potential hazards are identified through safety inspections, and various steps are taken to prevent them from occurring.  

What are the Workplace Safety Inspection Checklists?

The workplace safety inspection checklists are essential tools, used by safety officers, to help ensure the safety of all employees and relevant personnel who are present on the premises of a workplace.

All the potential workplace hazards are identified through safety inspections, using workplace safety inspection checklists. This helps to assess the safety level of a workplace and in identifying all potential hazards that are addressed accordingly. All of this is done to help to prevent any workplace hazards from occurring.    

Why Are Workplace Inspections Important?

To provide a safe environment for your workers and visitors, you must conduct workplace inspections timely, by health and safety committees. Regular workplace inspections help to reduce, or eliminate, the chances of any injuries, accidents, and illnesses at your workplace. Providing a good occupational health and safety program and management system to employees is the duty of every employer.

What Is The Purpose Of Workplace Inspections?

Workplace inspections are deemed necessary to allow you to:

  • Listen to the concerns of your employees regarding any potential workplace hazards
  • Identify any existing and potential hazards at your workplace
  • Identify the underlying causes of the hazards identified
  • Take corrective action towards these hazards
  • Monitor all the steps taken to eliminate or control the hazards identified
  • Make a safe working environment for your employees and visitors, which is identified as a basic human right

Workplace Safety Inspections

Every workplace has a different safety checklist to follow. The workplace safety inspection checklist for a construction site would be very different from the safety checklist used for an office environment. There are more chances of workplace hazards occurring at a construction site than in an office environment.

The workplace safety inspectors are required to examine all the processes and activities that are conducted in a workplace, that could pose a threat to the safety and well-being of all the employees and other people involved. Hence, it is safe to say that every workplace should have a tailored office safety checklist.   

To explain this further, let us talk about the workplace hazards which could take place in different setups. For example, the potential hazards that could take place in an office environment include fire incidents. Thus, the safety checklist for an office would focus mainly on fire safety, emergency evacuation, and ergonomics in general.

In a factory setup, the safety checklist would focus more on PPE, forklifts, signage, racks, and shelving. To discuss this further, a few of the workplace safety inspection checklists have been discussed below:

General Safety Inspection Checklist

A general safety inspection checklist usually contains basic inspection details about emergency equipment, pathways, such as aisles and stairways, and the lighting in work areas. A typical general safety inspection checklist usually contains the following:

  • Details about the flooring: are the floors slippery, oily or wet? Is the carpet worn out?
  • Details about the lighting: are there any dark areas? Any missing bulbs? Are the lamp reflectors clean?
  • Details about stairways and aisles: are the stairways well lit? Are they clear and unblocked? Are there handrails and handholds in place? Are the aisles marked and visible?
  • Details about the emergency equipment: are all the fire control equipment regularly tested and certified? Is the emergency lighting in place and regularly tested?
  • Details about sanitation: are the washrooms and food preparation areas clean? Are there adequate toilets, showers, drinking water, clothing storage, changing rooms, lunchrooms, etc?
  • Details about maintenance: any signs of weather damage or mold growth, condition of doors and locks, cleanliness of vents and ducts, condition of outside lights, and pavements.
  • General details: any obstructions in aisles or doorways, condition of chairs.
  • Security details: emergency procedures (evacuation, fire, bomb threat, hostile person), personal security at night at entry and exit points for the employees. 

COVID-19 (Corona Virus) Inspection Checklist

In this global pandemic of COVID-19, numerous businesses, including well-established ones, have suffered tremendously. It is not a feasible option for companies and businesses to allow their employees to work remotely anymore. Normal life must resume, with the implementation of some new protocols.

All businesses should set up a COVID-19 Crisis Management Committee at their workplace. These committees must follow the guidelines set by the World Health Organization (WHO), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, and country-specific public health guidance platforms.

All employees must be briefed with the new workplace protocols that must be followed under all circumstances. They must attend sessions to be well-informed about how to properly wear and discard face masks and gloves, practicing social distancing by staying 6 feet apart, hand hygiene practices, and the ability to identify the symptoms of this virus (cough, high temperature, shortness of breath), and to quarantine at home. Employees must be provided with paid leaves.

Since all workplaces have been unoccupied for quite a few months, they must be thoroughly inspected to ensure they are ready for occupancy. The site inspection checklist must include checking for mold growth, rodents, stagnant water systems, and must ensure proper ventilation of the workplace. Once that is sorted, potential workplace hazards must be identified, which could increase the risk of COVID-19 transmission.

These places include meeting rooms, cafeteria, locker rooms, elevators, escalators, door handles, light switches, waiting areas, and routes of entry and exit. 

The COVID-19 safety checklist includes the following:

  • Providing the workers with properly fitted protective equipment, such as face shields
  • Asking employees and visitors to wear face masks/coverings at all times
  • Providing gloves, hand sanitizers, soaps, disinfectant wipes and tissues to all employees, stations, entry and exit points
  • Install thermal scanners at entry points
  • Disposable toilet seat covers
  • Provide adequate spacing in cafeterias, meeting rooms, etc.
  • Increase ventilation rates and install high-efficiency air filters
  • Consider adopting one-way protocols for confined spaces such as the elevators, staircases, and hallways
  • Install no-touch trash cans
  • Divide employees into groups and schedule them on a rotating basis, maintaining the 6 feet apart rule
  • Screen employees for the symptoms of COVID-19 before they resume work, including the filling of a screening questionnaire
  • Allow employees to work remotely if their presence is not required at the workplace
  • The office must be cleaned in between shifts
  • Give preference to video conferences to help minimize chances of physical contact 
  • Suspend or limit business travel
  • Install automatic door openers, where possible
  • Eliminate porous surfaces and fabrics throughout the office to allow proper disinfection of these surfaces
  • Contactless pickup and delivery of products

Site Safety Inspection Checklist- Safety Walk

This inspection checklist deals with the surrounding environment, work areas, emergency exits. This usually includes details about:

  • Garbage disposal
  • Hazardous materials, chemicals, and combustibles
  • Walls, floors, and ceilings
  • Outside lights
  • Exit and entrance areas must be unobstructed
  • Rooftop access must be restricted and locked with signs posted
  • Pathways: details about stairways and the railings, lights, warning signs for the floor when its wet and slippery, posting evacuation maps in pathways
  • Work area: air quality, including humidity and temperature, condition of chairs, windows, vents, and ducts, storage areas for equipment
  • Common areas: food preparation areas, toilets
  • Emergency equipment and procedures: entry and exit points, emergency (evacuation, fire, bomb threat, hostile person) procedures, fire extinguishers, security lighting

Workplace Safety Inspection Checklist for the Construction Site

The construction site safety checklist is used to examine the construction site for any hazards seen in areas of scaffolding, signage, emergency evacuation, etc. A typical workplace safety inspection checklist for a construction site includes details about the following:

  • Site control: hazard boards, environmental measures taken
  • Site facilities: cleanliness of the offices, lighting, clean, potable water, equipment sheds, toilets
  • General site tidiness and access ways: fence and gates, loose material secure from the wind, safety of work areas, stairways and access ways
  • Personal Protective Equipment: hardhats, hand protection, footwear, glasses, shields, vests, respirators, masks, earmuffs, fall protection
  • Fire extinguishers and fire protection: portable fire extinguishers, training of workers, fire alarms, welding areas
  • Emergency evacuation: training of workers for emergency evacuation, emergency drills
  • Cranes/Hoist/Lifting equipment: certification and inspection of the equipment
  • Electrical equipment: the condition of equipment, storage of leads
  • Scaffolding: secured planks
  • Compressed air equipment
  • Excavations
  • Hot works
  • Ladders

Workplace Safety Inspection Checklist for the Warehouse

Inspecting the warehouse is also important. Potential safety hazards include forklift use, racking, and shelving, aisle accessibility, etc. The following are inspected thoroughly in the workplace safety checklist:

  • Aisles: they must be properly marked, clear of any obstructions, and maintain a standard width of aisles. There must be adequate housekeeping, cleanliness, and drainage, with the floors and surfaces being clean and free of any obstruction and slippery materials
  • Racks: rack load signs must be posted with the races being stable on a flat surface, racking braces must not be damaged, beams should show no sign of deflection
  • Forklift: it must have wheels are tires in a good condition, with the forks, mast, chains, rollers in good working condition, the battery must be charged with an engine having no leaks or noise, there must be no fluid leaks, brakes and steering must be in good working condition
  • Stairs: lighting, handrails, obstructions
  • Exits: exit signs must be posted, there should be enough building exits, hallways must be properly lit
  • Ladders: must be equipped with safety shoes, with no sharp edges or splinters
  • Air emission: warning signs for carbon monoxide
  • Work environment: adequate lighting, acceptable noise levels
  • Material handling: passages must be marked and clear of any obstructions, materials should be stored securely
  • Fire protection: fire extinguishers must be accessible and should be inspected regularly, flammable materials must be stored in adequate containers
  • Personal Protective Equipment: hard hats, foot protection

Workplace Safety Inspection Checklist Template for the Office

The workplace safety inspection checklist for the office usually contains details about the offices’ emergency evacuation, security, fire safety, accessibility, hygiene facilities, etc. A typical safety checklist for an office usually contains details about:

  • General: flooring (must be clean and dry, with signs posted when the floor is wet), stairways (should be well lit, unobstructed, with handrails in good condition), furniture and office equipment must be in a safe working condition
  • Exits, entrances and exterior parking lot: all signs must be marked, with no obstructions; parking lots must be free of snow, ice, water, grease, etc.
  • Workplace environment: air quality, including temperature and humidity, lighting levels
  • Ergonomics: furniture details
  • Fire protection: emergency lighting, portable fire extinguishers, fire exit doors, fire and emergency alarms, fire and evacuation plans must be posted and workers must know the plan
  • Hygiene and first aid: toilets, washing facility, first aid kits
  • Electrical: no exposed wires or bent prongs should be seen
  • Security: emergency numbers for internal and external contacts should be readily available, training on workplace violence and harassment

Safety Observation Form

The safety observation form is used to identify any hazards in the workplace. All details regarding the hazard must be listed, with images from the hierarchy of controls that is already present in the form, to help provide the safety officers with adequate details. Details regarding the control measure should also be mentioned.

Workplace Safety Risk Assessment Form

This form is used to identify safety hazards and prioritizing the corrective action that must be taken. The onsite risk is identified and a detailed description of the hazard, along with images are provided. The risk is rated (high, medium, or low) and relevant control measures and recommendations are included to help in its correction.

Food Service Operations Safety Inspection Checklist

Just like any office’s safety checklist, the foodservice operations safety inspection checklist is more or less the same. Since this service involves food, extra care must be taken regarding the storage and usage of edible goods and combustibles. Extra care must be taken regarding the cleanliness of the surroundings and the air quality for the workers. Usually, a food service safety inspection checklist contains details about the following:

  • Flooring: floors must be clean and dry at all times, with signs available for wet flooring
  • Electrical: no loose wires, electrical panels should be accessible and properly labeled, electrical appliances must be well maintained, certified and serviced timely
  • Storage: combustibles must be kept away from heat sources, isles should be free of clutter, products and supplies must be properly labeled, chemicals should be stored away from food products, deep fat fryers must be separated from the grills, cooking oil should be at room temperature before changing and straining
  • Machinery: grills and fryer exhaust system must be clean and must be repaired timely
  • Furniture: in good condition and regularly cleaned
  • Lighting: well-lit area with lights working properly
  • Protective wear: workers must wear proper footwear
  • Air quality: proper vents and working exhaust systems should be installed
  • First aid: adequately stocked and accessible
  • Fire safety and evacuation: exits must be labeled, fire extinguishers should be charged and tagged to show the last service date and monthly inspection dates

Fire Safety Inspection Checklist

The OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) Small Business Handbook, the U.S. Dept. of Labor provides all the essential safety checklists regarding fire safety. It contains basic detailed questions about:

  • Certified fire alarm system
  • Local fire department
  • Condition of fire doors and shutters
  • Obstructions in fire exits, doors and their markings with illuminated lights
  • Metals on sprinkler heads and 18-inch clearance
  • Location of fire extinguishers and data entry in the inspection log
  • Cleanliness of all work sites
  • Storage and removal of combustible scrap and debris
  • Assigning of fire watchers during welding
  • Obstructions in aisles and passageways
  • Emergency lights
  • Ventilation
  • No smoking signs in spray areas and on liquified petroleum tanks

The OSHA Small Business Handbook provides many details, which are way beyond the scope of this article to cover. They have provided minute details regarding the latches of doors, the size of signs, etc. to help ensure that no fire hazard takes place on the premises of your office.

Self-Inspection Checklists

OSHA is the regulatory authority for occupational safety in the United States, has set up a few standards, which must be met to provide occupational safety to all your employees.

These safety audit checklists come in handy for managers, you can refer to them during regular audits and mock inspections. Seven of the OSHA checklists have been discussed below. Each heading has numerous questions that scrutinize the whole workplace.

1. Self Inspection Checklist for Construction

This inspection checklist contains different sections, which require details about the following:

  • Administrative Requirements
  • General Safety and Health Provisions
  • Personal Protective and Life Saving Equipment
  • Fire Protection
  • Signs, Signals, and Barricades
  • Materials Handling, Storage, Use and Disposal
  • Tools, Hand, and Power
  • Welding and Cutting
  • Electrical
  • Scaffolding
  • Fall Protection > 6 Feet
  • Cranes and Derricks
  • Hoists and Elevators
  • Conveyors
  • Motor Vehicles, Mechanized Equipment, and Marine Operations
  • Excavations
  • Concrete, and Masonry Construction
  • Steel Erection
  • Underground Construction, Caissons, Cofferdams and Compressed Air
  • Demolition
  • Blasting and Use of Explosives
  • Power Transmission and Distribution
  • Rollover Protective Structures (ROPS); Overhead Protection
  • Stairways and Ladders
  • Toxic and Hazardous Substances

2. Self-Inspection Checklist for General Industry

This inspection checklist contains different sections, which require details about the following:

  • Employer Posting
  • Record Keeping
  • Safety and Health Program
  • Medical Services and First Aid
  • Fire Protection
  • Personal Protective Equipment and Clothing
  • General Work Environment
  • Walkways
  • Floor and Wall Openings
  • Stairs and Stairways
  • Elevated Surfaces
  • Exiting or Egress
  • Exit Doors
  • Portable Ladders
  • Hand Tools and Equipment
  • Portable (Power Operated) Tools and Equipment
  • Abrasive Wheel Equipment Grinders
  • Power-Actuated Tools
  • Machine Guarding
  • Lockout/Tagout Procedures
  • Welding, Cutting, and Brazing
  • Compressors and Compressed Air
  • Compressors and Receivers
  • Compressed Gas Cylinders
  • Hoist and Auxiliary Equipment
  • Industrial Trucks-Forklifts
  • Spraying operations
  • Entering Confined Spaces
  • Environmental Controls
  • Flammable and Combustible Materials
  • Hazardous Chemical Exposure
  • Hazardous Substances Communication
  • Electrical
  • Noise
  • Feeling
  • Identification of Piping System
  • Material handling
  • Transporting Employees and Materials
  • Control of Harmful Substances by Ventilation
  • Sanitizing Equipment and Clothing
  • Tire Inflation

3. Housekeeping Inspection

The OSHA housekeeping inspection checklist contains questions about residual dust, vacuum cleaners, flooring, potable water, toilets, handwashing facilities, cleaning schedules, changing rooms for housekeeping staff, etc.

4. Personal Protective Equipment Checklist

This checklist contains details about the PPE provided to the workers; how, why, and when do they wear it, etc.

5. Electrical Inspection Checklist

This checklist mainly emphasizes on the condition and maintenance of electrical wires and cords used in the facility.

6. Fall Protection Checklist

This checklist contains questions regarding scaffolds, ladders, aerial lifts, etc.

7. Truck Safety Inspection Checklist

This checklist has questions regarding the engine, service, headlights, indicators, brakes and brake lights, etc., of the truck being inspected.

What Type Of Hazards Do We Look For In A Workplace?

Hazards can be classified broadly into:

  • Safety hazards: those hazards which are caused by unsafe working conditions, unsafe work practices, inadequate machine guards
  • Biological hazards: These hazards that are caused by microorganisms, such as bacteria. viruses, fungi
  • Chemical hazards: these hazards are caused by solid, liquid, gas, vapor, fume, dust, or mist
  • Physical hazards: hazards that are caused by weather, energy, heat, cold, electricity, radiation, pressure, noise
  • Psychosocial hazards: hazards that can affect the mental health and well-being of your employees, such as stress, bullying, etc.
  • Ergonomic hazards: this includes physiological and psychological demands from the workers, such as awkward postures due to improper work methods, improper workstations, and equipment. It can also be caused by repetitive forceful movements 

How Are The Inspections Done?

Before the safety inspectors inspect your workplace, review the inspection plan with the inspectors before they begin inspecting the premises. You must provide the inspectors with PPE, where required. Safety inspectors follow certain inspection principles. These principles are:

  • They will point out any immediate source of the danger they see, even before they send you the final report.
  • They lock out any hazardous items they spot, till the item can be brought to a safe operating standard.
  • Safety inspectors do not operate the equipment themselves; they ask for demonstrations.
  • They thoroughly and systematically inspect the premises, making sure that no area or any minute details are left out.
  • Safety inspectors keep on taking notes throughout the inspection.
  • They ask questions during the inspection.
  • If a machine is shut down, they can postpone the inspection until the machine is functioning again.
  • Safety inspectors do not just rely on their senses; they may even monitor equipment to measure levels of exposure to chemicals, radiation, etc.
  • They may even take photographs during the inspection.

How Do You Plan For An Inspection?

It is always a better idea to do your research and planning before going to any inspection site. You must identify the areas or machinery that could be potential workplace hazards, or could be unsafe conditions to work in, due to heat, corrosion, chemicals, etc.

All areas, people, environment, equipment, and machinery, and the processes involved must be thoroughly inspected.  

Who Should Be On The Inspection Team?

The first choice of officers are the members of the Health and Safety committee, certification or training for formal inspections is a plus point. Apart from these officers, the inspection team may include others who have knowledge about potential hazards, various procedures and regulations, and those who have experience with work procedures involved.

Moreover, health and safety professionals, occupational hygienists, supervisors or managers, engineers, and maintenance personnel may be a part of the team or maybe called if their expertise is required during a specific inspection. If a large workplace has to be inspected, more than one inspection team can be sent to the premises.

Should Supervisors Be On The Inspection Team?

It varies with every inspection site. Supervisors tend to have an edge over others in a safety inspection. This is because they are familiar with the environment, the workers, and the machinery. However, this familiarity can also be a disadvantage because it can cause bias in the supervisor’s objectivity.

In the case, when the supervisor is not a part of the inspection team, he must be contacted by the inspection team, before inspecting a specific area, but he should not act as a tour guide. When the supervisor does not accompany the team during the inspection, the inspection team must consult the supervisor before leaving that area.

All recommendations must be discussed with the supervisor, including those, which need immediate action to be taken. The inspection team, under any circumstances, must not be influenced by the supervisor and must maintain a firm, friendly, and fair attitude.

How Long Does It Take To Carry Out An Inspection?

For the inspections to be as thorough as possible, there is no time frame set for the inspections. It depends on the size of the premises, the findings, and the questions that were asked.

How Frequently Should Inspections Be Done?

It is recommended that inspections should be carried out as often as committee meetings. However, you must schedule the meeting and inspection one week apart, to allow time for small things to be fixed. How often inspections are conducted depends upon a few factors. These factors are:

  • Past incident records
  • Addition of new machinery or processes
  • The number and size of various work operations
  • Number of shifts
  • The number of formal inspections set in your legislation
  • Legislative requirements for your jurisdiction
  • The equipment and work processes which may be hazardous or potentially hazardous

What Should The Final Report Contain?

The final report should contain all the observations made during the inspection, which was concluded to be hazardous. Details about the unsafe condition should include the area where it was inspected, the date and time, and the name of all the members of the inspection team.

Then, a priority level is assigned to the hazard observed. The priority levels are:

A: Major (immediate action required)

B: Serious (short-term action required)

C: Minor (long-term action required)  

Once the hazards have been identified and prioritized, corrective action is also recommended. Once the report is ready, all members of the inspection team must review it, and check for the accuracy, thoroughness, and clarity of the report.

Final Words- A quick look at the Benefits of a CMMS for Workplace Safety Inspection

The Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS) software is the ideal solution for every business for a workplace safety inspection. All your documents are stored electronically, reducing your time and efforts spent to maintain and track records.

The benefits of using the CMMS for Workplace Safety Inspection checklist are:

Audit Trail Capabilities

All changes are logged as work orders, with details such as what changes were made, who made them and when were they made. This way you would have work order history, with all the documents required to pass audits. If your firm has multiple locations, you can verify all procedures, in addition to being able to see work order change records.


Maintenance reports show the compliance of the safety regulations. These reports include the ones related to your equipment, maintenance activities, and labor. Custom reports can be made that suit your business requirements.

Customized Fields

You can ensure that all essential data has been recorded, without leaving out any details by adding customized fields.

Digital Signatures

Instead of relying on paper records, you can make use of the digital signatures to set work order closure permission approvals.

Employee Information

It is essential to maintain all your employees’ information. This may include their certificates, work experience, personal data, etc.

Preventative Maintenance Tasks

Adding preventative maintenance tasks to work orders ensures that the correct procedure is followed every time. Maintenance history serves as a proof of the jobs being completed.

The workplace safety inspection checklist is a very thorough checklist that has to be fulfilled by all manufacturers. This helps in protecting the employees from any health and safety hazards. Thus, ticking all the boxes on their checklist is extremely important.

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