OSHA Handbook for Small Businesses

IV. Self-Inspection

The most widely accepted way to identify hazards is to conduct safety and health inspections. The only way you can be certain of the actual situation is for you to look at it from time to time.

Begin a program of self-inspection in your own work-place. Self-inspection is a must if you are to know where probable hazards exist and whether they are under control.

Later in this Section, you will find checklists designed to assist you in this fact-finding. They will give you some indication of where you should begin action to make your business safer and more healthful for all of your employees.

These checklists are by no means all-inclusive. You may wish to add to them or delete portions that do not apply to your business. Consider carefully each item as you come to it and then make your decision.

Don't spend time with items that obviously have no application to your business. Make sure each item is seen by you or your designee, and leave nothing to memory or chance. Write down what you see, or don't see, and what you think you should do about it.

When you have completed the checklists, add this material to your injury information, your employee information, and your process and equipment information. You will now possess many facts that will help you determine what problems exist. Then, if you use the OSHA standards in your problem-solving process, it will be much easier for you to determine the action needed to solve these problems.

Once the hazards have been identified, you can institute the control procedures described in Section III and establish your four-point safety and health program.

Technical assistance in self-inspection may be available to you as a small business owner or manager through your insurance carrier, the local safety council and many local, state, and federal agencies, including the state consultation programs and OSHA Area Offices. Additional checklists are available from the National Safety Council, trade associations, insurance companies and other similar service organizations. (Refer to Section V.)

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