The Role of General Workplace Inspections

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An inspection can be described as the systematic measurement and validation of the current status of any given programme or system. Fundamentally, an inspection subjects each area of organisation’s activities to a systematic critical examination with the object of minimising injury and loss. A well-conducted inspection will provide detailed and accurate information regarding both the strengths and areas for improvement of any given area or field of operation. Recorded findings are a valuable tool in identifying and prioritising issues, which require further attention.

Safety, Health and Environmental (SHE) inspections are accepted as being a necessity in industry today. Numerous hazards are present in the workplace and management and employees alike should strive to minimise exposure to risks and prevent the occurrence of incidents.

Occupational health and safety legislation deals with a wide variety of steps, types and methods, which can be included in the generic term “Inspections”. But this should not be read in isolation since SANS codes also provide key guidelines and specifics around workplace inspections.

Many companies in the chemical and mining industry have already adopted a formal system of safety inspections. Some of them are prompted to do so by a major incident which conventional safety methods had failed to prevent. The misconception is that employers in other industries do not follow duty of care and assume they work in a low risk environment as opposed to construction and mining.

There is a growing recognition that accidents arising from unsuspected risks can result not only in injuries to employees and damage to expensive equipment, but also can have an effect on the commercial viability of a company. There is also the risk of being revered to the Department of Labour, CCMA or even Labour Court in the event of an injury on duty as a consequence of an unsafe condition that could have been controlled through prior inspection and duty of care.

Almost always, accidents, resources of manpower and money are made available to determine causes and implement remedial action to prevent a recurrence. If the same resources were allocated for the purpose of identifying risks and eliminating them before incidents occur, reliability and profitability would be increased.

SHE programmes are dynamic and regular inspections are an effective way to identify hazards and evaluate the company’s risks in order to ensure compliance with set minimum standards, and implement control measures for ongoing improvement.

LabourNet ensures that following its systems of routine inspections integrated with an automated online management system reduces injury and incidence rates and decreases industrial loss. More and more companies are introducing the LabourNet automated management system to improve occupational safety and health compliance standards and to raise productivity levels.

This has resulted in LabourNet upgrading its inspection module incorporating an integrated dashboard on all workplace inspections, with accountability, time frames and corrective action management to bring it in line with international standards. The LabourNet SHEQX Management system give license holders the ability to eventually get certified on international standards and ensure a more robust approach to legal compliance.

For more information on the above topic, please contact the LabourNet Helpdesk at

0861 LABNET (0861 522638).

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