Workplace Inspections

Workplace Inspections

SUMMARY

The Workplace Inspections Procedure establishes the requirements for the conduct of workplace inspections at Macquarie University.

PROCEDURE

PurposeTo outline the requirements for the conduct of workplace inspections at Macquarie University.

Procedure

Workplace inspections are required to ensure a consistent, planned, systematic appraisal of the workplace to identify hazards, assess and rate risks, and implement and review controls.

Workplace inspections are an integral part of the Risk Management Policy, and ensure that the University is able to:
  • display management commitment to health and safety
  • monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of health and safety practices and procedures
  • improve health and safety practices and procedures
  • measure Health and Safety (H&S) compliance
  • check new facilities, equipment, processes
  • identify hazardous conditions and review hazard control measures
  • collect information that identifies potential new safety initiatives
  • maintain interest in health and safety through consultation
  • empower staff to ensure a safe work environment.

Macquarie University Property has specific responsibility for inspecting building infrastructure, essential services, grounds and walkways, plant and equipment and security.

This procedure requires actions by the following: The key activities in this procedure are:

Central H&S Committee

DETERMINE THE WORKPLACE TO BE INSPECTED
Determine the workplace to be inspected according to the level of risk of the work practices or environment in each area.

Inspections will need to be undertaken prior to commencement of work:
  • where equipment or layout of any work area is altered and/or increases risk
  • if a new plant or work process is introduced.

The aim should be to complete a minimum of two inspections per year per work area (for example, office, laboratory, theatre).

Nominate a H&S Committee Workgroup for each inspection.

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H&S Committee Workgroup

PREPARE THE TEAM
Notify the Inspection Area
Contact the supervisor of the area to be inspected and arrange a date and time for the inspection. Request the presence of the supervisor or management representative and a staff member familiar with the area.

Form an Inspection Team
Form an inspection team which includes the following:
  • staff member(s) familiar with the work area
  • management representative or their delegate
  • H&S representative
  • delegate from the Health and Safety Unit.

At least one of the inspection team must have received training in the University process for workplace inspections.

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Inspection Team

Obtain Checklists
A range of Workplace Inspections Checklists is available to assist in the inspection process by recording information and triggering questions. The Checklists are based on a hazard register for each area and will have been reviewed by staff in the relevant area.

INSPECT THE WORKPLACE
Larger faculties or offices may establish more than one inspection team to better utilise staff and ensure all inspections are completed.

Individual work areas may elect to increase the number of inspections if there is an identified need or increased risk profile.

Consider the following questions when inspecting:
  • Workplace Design (i.e. the physical workplace, both internal and external environment)
    • Is the area suited to the work being carried out?
    • Does it provide adequate space for occupants?
    • Does the design meet relevant legislative requirements?
    • Does it comply with Building Code of Australia (BCA)?
    • Does it comply with the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (NSW) and Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011 (NSW)
  • Systems of Work
    • Are policies and procedures available?
    • Is important information available to workers concerning hazards, for example Hazard Register, Material Safety Data Sheets?
  • Environment
    • Do levels of noise and lighting meet legislative requirements?
    • Are ventilation and thermal conditions acceptable?
    • Does desk/bench design meet ergonomic requirements?
    • Is storage space available and safely utilised?
    • Are floor surfaces safe and clear of obstructions?
    • Are amenities such as toilets and kitchenette clean?
    • Do seasonal factors impact on activities?
  • Behaviour
    • Are systems effective?
    • Do staff have the knowledge and awareness of safety systems?
    • Is there evidence of non-compliance, short cuts, and periods of high workload?
    • Is there a need for training and education programmes arising from exposure to an identified hazard?
IDENTIFY HAZARDS
As you carry out a workplace inspection of the area, identify any hazards in the workplace. This involves:
  • an inspection of the workplace environment
  • observing work practices
  • consultation with staff
  • a review of incidents that have occurred in the area
  • conducting safety audits
  • monitoring employee health.
Pay attention to the following hazards:
  • Lifting and carrying weights Employees should only lift and carry weights which are appropriate and safe for them. A safe weight is assessed by the size and strength of the person, the weight of the object, the posture used to lift the object, the workplace conditions (stairs, slippery floor, lighting etc) and the time spent doing the lifting.
  • Hazardous work environments and/or substances Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) should be used when higher-level controls do not provide sufficient protection. Consult with employees and supervisors to determine if a task requires PPE, and ensure that the equipment is used whenever employees are exposed to hazards.
  • Electrical equipment Employees should only use University-owned electrical equipment which is on the register of equipment that has been inspected, tested and tagged in accordance with Australian Standard AS/NZS 3760:2010 In-service safety inspection and testing of electrical equipment. Where privately-owned electrical equipment is used, the owner of the equipment is responsible for it being inspected, tested and tagged by an appropriately qualified person and that approval for use has been granted by the relevant Executive Dean/Head of Office.
  • Research animals All activities involving the use of animals or work undertaken in areas that house research animals must have controls to eliminate the risk of physical injuries, exposure to diseases, allergic reactions and hazardous agents; and to plan for "worst case" scenarios and emergencies.
ASSESS AND RATE RISKS
Once a hazard has been identified, assess and rate the risk according to three criteria:
  • its likelihood to cause harm (Risk Likelihood Matrix)
  • its potential consequences (Risk Consequences Matrix)
  • the risk level (Risk Assessment Matrix).

The Risk Management Procedure outlines how risks are assessed and rated.

REPORT
Document all risk assessments on the Risk Register Form and forward this, along with copies of any completed Checklists and/or notes to the following people:
  • Executive Dean / Head of Office
  • Head of Department
  • Health and Safety Unit
  • H&S Representative
  • Central H&S Committee
Complete and send a Workplace Safety Inspection Summary Report to the:
  • Executive Dean/ Head of Office, for action
  • Central H&S Committee.

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Executive Dean/Head of Office

IDENTIFY AND IMPLEMENT RISK CONTROLS
Ensure that workplace inspections in your areas of responsibility are completed, consistent with the risk profile of each work area.

Take action to eliminate or control the hazards documented in the Workplace Safety Inspection Summary Report.

While the most effective action is to eliminate risks, this is not always possible. In these instances control measures are implemented according to the hierarchy of control contained in the Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011 (NSW).

The Risk Management Procedure describes this hierarchy of control.

Controls should be developed in consultation with staff who undertake the tasks or activities. It is important that controls do not excessively regulate or complicate the work process.

Following the identification of risk controls, the manager of an area is responsible for implementing the controls and liaising with relevant University departments where issues are not within the manager’s authority.

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Procedure Information

Contact OfficerManager, Health and Safety
Date Approved17 August 2011
Approval AuthorityManager, Health and Safety
Date of Commencement17 August 2011
Amendment Historyn/a
Date for Next ReviewAugust 2014
Related Documents

Risk Management Policy / Procedure

Australian Standard AS/NZS 3760:2010 In-service safety inspection and testing of electrical equipment

Forms
Risk Register Form
Workplace Inspections Checklists
Workplace Safety Inspection Summary Report

Legislation
Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (NSW)
Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011 (NSW)
KeywordsWorkplace Inspections
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