Health and Safety Committees – Performing Inspections

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The safety committee must have a system for doing its own detective work to find the hazards in every department or work area.  If you are going to conduct a survey, keep in mind the following points:

  • Talk to committee members, stewards, and other interested members before the survey to make sure you know about recent safety and health problems.
  • Talk to workers during the survey.  They may know about hazards you would not see on a walkthrough tour.
  • Keep the survey results in writing.  This allows the committee to keep track of what hazards have been found and what’s being done about them.
  • Make diagrams that show the hazards you find.  For example, you might mark an area where you heard loud noise, where there was an uncovered hole in the floor, or where you smelled chemical vapors.

Write down the number of workers who are affected and whether they have ever complained to management.

Put reminders on the diagram if you need to get more information about a hazard you saw.

These diagrams are useful in union discussions, joint meetings with management, or OSHA inspections.  Be sure to put the date on them.

The following is a sample list of questions you should ask yourself during a plant survey.  After looking at your plant, you may want to develop your own list for committee members to use.