Christel Fouche

Health and Safety Inspection Checklist

  • September 15th, 2009

Due to popular demand, we return to an example of a section of a health and safety representative inspection checklist.

It is important to notice that there is a BIG difference between an inspection and an audit. The differences are:

  • Inspection takes place more frequently (hourly, daily, weekly) whereas an audit takes place less frequently (every 3 or 6 months).
  • Inspection is done by the employee and an audit is done by a senior employee.
  • Inspection covers detail and everything while an audit is a sampling process to verify that inspections where done correctly.

Successful completion of health and safety representative inspections, require application of these basic principles:

  • Enter full names and surnames, not nicknames.
  • Enter full dates and times, in a logical sequence, such as the format dd, mm, yyyy, am/pm or 13:00.
  • Fill all spaces in ink, to prevent tampering with the checklist.
  • Enter words, like Yes, No, N/A (not applicable), or cross out the finding that is not applicable. Do not use tick marks, since tick marks could be changed to crosses.
  • Write neatly and legibly.
  • Explain ‘No’ in the comment column. Describe what is wrong, where the problem is, and what is required.
  • Allocate sufficient time.
  • Remain calm and relaxed during inspection.
  • Find facts, not faults, and avoid arguments.
  • Give compliments where due. Bear the importance of the inspection in mind.
  • Vary inspection times to avoid routine window-dressing. Do not inspect during peak job times.
  • Keep your cell phone off.
  • Wear appropriate PPE and follow site safety rules.
  • Obtain permission and support from the site manager in advance.

Health and safety representatives are part of the Sheq management system, and act to pro-actively identify possible loopholes in the system. They are on your side, looking for opportunities for continual improvement to keep the workplace free from manageable hazards and risks that may affect your health, safety and profitability. Give them your full support.

Checklist or inspection forms must be customised according to the requirements of the industry, the site, and the specific area to be inspected. An example of a section of an inspection checklist is illustrated here.

Additional loop-holes to keep in mind are:

  • Balancing “health” and “safety” requirements in the checklist and not only focusing on “safety” issues.
  • Continually upgrading the checklist to reflect changes in the working environment.
  • When inspecting offices – an ergonomics checklist should be added to the standard checklist to include the area specific requirements.
  • Customization of checklists are a must to ensure:

– That the content is applicable
– That unnecessary time is not wasted on irrelevant issues
– An oversight of critical elements are not encountered

  • The developers of the checklists must be competent and one person MUST NOT design and develop this tool on his/her own.
  • To be on the look-out for patterns:

– Ticking exercise that was done quickly as in yesterday, but for the whole year.
– A problem area that has not been attended to for 3 or more months in a row.
– Management not signing the inspection checklist (commitment).

The Health and Safety representative inspection is the first line of preventive action to pro-actively determine possible problems in the system. It MUST NOT be neglected or downplayed.

63 responses to “Health and Safety Inspection Checklist”

  1. Riette says:

    Good solid advice, as always,
    Thanks very much

  2. Anton van Zijl says:

    Hi Christel

    I have a Q that doesn’t realy relate to this post. I hope I am not being greedy.

    I have to often wondered about facilities on construction sites. I eventually convinced our company to designate an emoloyee to clean the toilets on our construction site on a daily basis. These are normal household toilets. So we are trying to provide sufficient facilities.

    What I am uncertain about is the fact that the Construction Regulations refer to quantity of toilets and showers. Does a normal site have to provide showers for every laborer,even sub-contractors, or only for workers sleeping on the premises. If we are to provide showers at all times, does this need to include hot water and soap? It’s not always very clear what the legislator had in mind while writing the requirements.

    I would realy appreciate your feedback.



  3. christel says:

    Hi Anton
    Thank you for your enquiry. You have to provide showers for normal workers – it does not distinguish between workers sleeping on the property and just normal workers. It also does not specify hot water and soap to be provided, but this is industry standard. I am worried however that you have workers sleeping on the property? Regards Christel.

  4. Anton van Zijl says:

    Thank you for replying

    We do indeed have workers sleeping on site. Is this a concern?

  5. christel says:

    If you are running a 24 hour operation then these workers should be catered for within the legal requirements. So you are responsible and liable for anything that happens to them during this 24 hour period. Kitchens, bathrooms, etc. are all your responsibility. Regards Christel

  6. Anton van Zijl says:

    I am going to take this up with management.

    Thanx a million!!!!

  7. Meliesa Louw says:

    Hi Christel

    Please can you send me a mail about all the course information that is available. I am spesific looking for SHEQ MAN.


  8. Hi Meliesa
    I have asked Tania to make contact with you and send the information through. Keep a lookout for it in your e-mail inbox. Regards Christel.

  9. Barbara Kenya says:

    Please send me information of all the courses available on SHEQ. Kindly include their dates and costs. If you have anything specific to Geothermal SHEQ issues I will truley appreciate.
    Kind regards, Barbara.

  10. Hi Barbara
    I have asked Tania to send the information to you. Good luck – Regards Christel.

  11. Cyprian Zulu says:

    To Whom it may Concern.

    I am in a confused situation here with regards to SHE Rep certificate, I understand that for First Aiders the training turn around period is 36 months, but I haven’t come across the regulation that stipulates the turn around training period for SHE Reps.

    Please help……

    Cyprian Zulu

  12. Hi Cyprian
    Thank you for your enquiry. The requirement has just changed for First Aid trainers – the certificate/training is valid for 24 months/2 years only – not three anymore. In terms of SHEQ Reps the law is not prescriptive, but the norm is two years as well – some companies make it 3 years, but not less.
    Regards Christel

  13. Tebogo says:

    Hi Christel

    i wonder if you can assist me.
    i am looking for tips of teaching our staff about Health & safety.
    i am a bit nervous coz its my first time as a HESIO rep.

    please advice,

    Thank you

  14. Hi Tebogo
    Start simple. Topics I would suggest would include:
    duties of the employer – section 8 of the OHSAct
    Duties of the employee – Sect 14 of the OHSAct
    objectives of management towards H&S
    Hazards & risks and what is the difference & examples on your site
    the importance of training & knowing how to perform the work
    Perosnal Protective Equipment
    Following procedures – why is this important
    H&S reps and their duties and functions
    H&S comittees and their role
    looking after the environment
    personal hygiene
    occupational hygiene
    Hope this helps? Regards Christel.

    • claire says:

      Would it be possible to also get the same information you sent another person. We recycle and export ferrous and non ferrous materials. My question is what type of courses are compulsery to have in this type of industry. And where i can enroll for such courses.

  15. Pieter says:

    Hey There Christel

    I’m a SHEQ officer at a recycling company. We recycle and export ferrous and non ferrous materials. My question is what type of courses are compulsery to have in this tpe of industry. And where i can enroll for such courses. I have 3 years experience in the OHS environment but haven’t had any formal training.

    Your feedback will be greatly anticipated

    Regards Pieter

  16. Hi Pieter
    The basic courses as per law include: induction-, H&S representative-, HIRA-, Incident Inv-, Supervisors training, however there are specific training such as first aid and fire fighting that also might be applicable to you. I am sending you a whole bunch of information to peruse. Good luck. Regards Christel.

  17. Andries says:

    Hi Christel
    Would you help me with a copy of the Regulations in terms of the Minerals Act that are still in force?

  18. HI Andries
    I have sent you a personal e-mailer. Kindly check. Regards Christel.

  19. samantha says:

    Hi Christel
    Could you please explain to me the difference between a SHEQ representative and SHEQ manager.THANX

  20. Johan says:

    Hi Christel
    I see you have already touched on the subject ref. Cyprian Zulu.
    My Q is were is it stipulated that a Safety Rep. must undergo certfied training and if so, who is setting the standards and what is the minimum requirements of this course. Will realy appreciate your view on this. I know that training is a requisition. Would it be a problem if inhouse training is given with reference to site specific conditions as well as responsibilities and functions etc.

  21. Hi Samantha
    A SHEQ representative needs to be nominated and elected from the workforce/employees and represents them on SHEQ matters. This person (legally) may not be a manager. This person also has a normal occupation in industry such as being a driver, clerk or lab. assistant – they only do their inspection once a month and form part of the comittee meeting once a month – it is not their main job to be a rep. A SHEQ Manager is not at employee level and is a person who is in this SHEQ manager occupation full time. The rep reports to the manager or through other managers to the SHEQ manager. If you appoint a manager as a rep he or she will be a management rep and not a SHEQ rep.
    Regards Christel.

  22. Hi Johan
    THe laws stipulates under section 17 – 20 of the Occupational H&S Act that reps needs to be nominated, elected, appointed and trained. The law is not prescriptive in terms of what training and by whom. However the SETA/SAQA process kicks then in. You can train your own employees if you have a competent facilitator and assessor to do it. If you want to claim your moneys back from the Skills levy you however need to make use of an accredited training provider who is using registered facilitators and assessors. The questions are: do you want to claim back? If so, is your training division accredited with the SETA as well as your trainers competent facilitators and assessors through the ET&DP SETA? If you do not want to claim you still need to use a competent person to do the training in order to cover yourself legally should something go wrong.
    Hope this helps? Regards Christel.

  23. please sir i wish to have details about the duties of a h ans s cordinator in any company involve in the above domain.Thanks ROLAND

  24. Hi Roland
    The role of a H&S Coordinator depends on the size and nature of the business as well as the manpower and assistance available to the person. In short, here is a few examples of what the person should be able to do as a minimum:
    – do risk assessments with a team
    – inspections
    – audits
    – training
    – communication in meetings and with management and employees
    – ID needs and act on them, eg. PPE requirements
    – investigations of incidents
    – completion and maintenance of documentation
    – liason with clinic and fire station
    – managing team of first aiders and fire fighters, etc.
    Hope this helps. Regards Christel.

  25. Danny says:

    Hi Christel,
    I would like like to start up a consultancy firm in my country, Uganda in areas of health, safety and ergonomics. Please would you help me
    identify the most critical areas I should tackle. And how can I get more
    knowledge from your organisation, in form of trainings and expertise.

  26. JOSEPH MASINGE says:

    Hi Christel I’m a ohs rep at work and studying towards safety Management, I’m interested in this field and request advise on how to grow in this field.

  27. Hi Joseph
    Good for you and keep up the determination to complete your studies. I am sending you the SHEQ Manager/Director career-path development programme as a suggestion. Kindly peruse and inform me if this is what you were looking for. All of the best – Christel.

  28. Hi Danny
    Thank you for your confidence in our knowledge and experience base. To be effective in this field you need to have the correct knowledge and skill in training of various courses; implementation of systems (both legal and ISO/OHSAS); auditing of systems (both legal and ISO/OHSAS) as well as effective management and project management attributes. The golden cow remains training – so you need to decide what you want to do, how fast you want to grow and of course where your passion lies. Without passion for SHEQ you will not be successful. The market needs and demands will also have to be investigated to see what their requirements are. In terms of equipping you with the knowledge and skill – I am forwarding various option to you. Good luck – Christel.

  29. Anwar says:


    I am a new startup company looking to implement a HSE policy document and /or checklist for the retail automation petroleum sector.

    Could you assist or point me in the right direction?


  30. Gareth says:

    Hi Christal,

    Im from SA, currently studing NDSM (safety management).
    im getting some work experiance through a local casino as a SHE officer. i am getting the hang of it but struggling to make the monthly committee meetings more exciting and interesting to keep the REPs coming. do you have any suggestions on this (workshops etc)?
    one more thing… incident reports, i get alot of them as we are a casino and alot of people go through here but most of them are just from fainting etc…how do i investigate this or do i just record the incident on our register?

    thank you for this site!!!!!!

    • GRISELDA NAUDE says:

      To determine why employees are fainting you should approach an occupational hygienist. Possible causes should always be identified. Heat stress, air quality and ventilation should be looked at.y

  31. Neil Kleyweg says:

    Hi Christel,
    I have just started a new job and had been bestowed upon to get the latest SHERQ system underway. I had been a MD of a company and have had some training but nothing formal. We have a appointed SHEQ company but I need to get things going. Any suggestions on Q&A I need to do?
    This page is exellent for me. I am definately going on coarses

  32. Hi Neil
    I am sending you the A-Z from Zero to certification (including legal compliance). I hope this will assist – it is basically the path to follow. Good luck Christel.

  33. Hi Gareth
    A company I consulted for previously had an incentive scheme for Reps where they paid them (be careful of this option) an additional cash amount once per year after meeting the following criteria:
    – Must have done 12 H&S inspections
    – Must have attended 12 comittee meetings
    – Must have done 12 toolbox talks in their designated area
    – Must have successfully completed a H&S Rep course
    – Must have successfuly completed an Incident investigation course
    – etc.
    Criteria were establish against which the reps was then assessed. I also believe in keeping a meeting to not more than an hour.
    Hope this helps?
    RE: the incidents – ALL incidents must be investigated. They must be recorded as well. Regards Christel.

  34. Hi Anwar
    I am sending a guidline doc to you (BS5888) – please peruse and let me know if this is a good starting point for you – if not I will take this conversation further. Regards Christel.

  35. Jabu says:

    Hi, I am a safety consultant working for myself, I would like you to help me with a safety report model or template. I am in the Construction Industry.

  36. Hi Jabu
    I have sent you the international audit report-writing format. Good luck. Christel.

  37. Chris van der Walt says:

    Hi Christel,

    What are the legal requirements regarding number of toilets required versus number of employees, specifically for an office setup? Or is this determined by municipal bylaws?

    Thanks, Chris.

  38. Hi
    As far as I now it is 11 employees per toilet – just keep in mind different gender issues as well, please. Regards Christel.

  39. Johan says:

    Hi Christel
    How do I motivate in terms of relevant regulations, medical surveilance for persons working at heights (fixing roof trusses)
    Can you help?
    Regards Johan

  40. Odette says:

    Hi Christel
    I am a rep at a Pest Control company, and as a result have been exposed to the Health & Safety environment, at HACCP and non-HACCP customers. I am highly intrigued by H&S and am considering persuing a career in H&S. However, I am not trained (although I should be with my current position, my employer “does not believe in wasting time with courses”). Where should I start? I am looking for a company who will allow me to “shadow” the SHE manager for a day or 2 (over a weekend preferably) and that will help me acquire useful information with regards to the job itself, but where to from there? I feel lost, I have finally (at the age of 29) found a career path which I am really excited about, and I dont know where to start!!!
    Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
    Many thanks

  41. Hi
    I think you need to start with legal compliance as the first step in getting the correct knowledge and skill. Refer to the career-path development process I have sent to you. You also need to identify where you would like to end up eventually: there are four options: manager, trainer, auditor or consultant. Each of them have different requirements. Once you have this worked out the experience then needs to be obtained. I wish you all of the best. Regards Christel.

  42. Hester Otto says:

    I need help with plant checklist. I am going to cover our plant now and there are currently no checklists in use. Please help.

  43. Hi Hester
    I would need more information please. Mining or industry, which activities are present, etc? Regards Christel.

  44. Bongani Cedric Malaza says:

    Could you kindly advice me on how to get a OHS management system going right up to certification.

    Would really appreciate your assistance

  45. Rudi says:

    Hi Christel

    I hold B.Tec in Environmental Health and is registed with SAATCA as a OHSAS 18001 auditor. In your opinion do I comply as a competent health and safety professional in terms of the Occupational Health and Safety Act?

  46. Mashel says:

    Hi Christrl

    I am looking for international audit report-writing format if you happen to have one.

    Kind Regards

  47. Mashel says:

    Hi christel

    I am looking for A sample fall protection plan if you happen have one. Please assist.

    Kind regards

  48. Hi

    Thank you for your enquiry. This is a tricky one and can only be answered based on a detailed submission of your CV which will have to indicate to me legal training amongst many other training received. Furthermore, the job you will be employed for, will have its own unique requirements in terms of knowledge and skill which only your employer can verify.


  49. Hi Cedric

    Thank you for your enquiry. There are two answers here: is this OHS up to legal compliance or OHS up to OHSAS18001 certification? Because you used the word “certification” I presume it is the latter option? If not, please advise.

    I have attached the process to this e-mail.



    please provide me with fall protection plan & HIV/AIDS Program on construction site

  51. Hi Kgadima
    I have sent you the relevatn information. All of the best. Christel.

  52. Marcel van Rossum says:

    Hi Christel
    I am a civil servant and at the building where I work there is an issue with pigeons being a pest. There are about 40 to 50 pigeons creating an unhealthy situation.
    The result is that ultra high sound frequency emmitters were installed. This is not supposed to be able to be heard by humans and is also not supposed to be able to be heard through windows. Unfortunately it is not the case and I and others are subjected to constant very high pitched ringing in our ears.

    What are the legals aspects around this in terms of heath and safety and who can I contact for testings and inspections re this.

    How do I go about getting the units switched off or removed.

    Thank you,



  53. Jacques says:

    Hi Christel,

    I’m the Acting SHE Manager for our company and I would like to know where I can find a guideline of what the companies SHE manual should contain? I’m also looking at doing the SHEQMAN course, and after completing the course to study further into SHEQ. What course would you recommend for me?



  54. Shryl says:

    Wonder if youSHE Rep, Incident Investigation and HIRAcourse.I am looling to get a job as SHE rep, But all the ads require experience. How do they expect a person to have experience if nobody wants to give us a chance.

  55. Shryl says:

    Hi Christel

    Wonder if you could help, I did the three courses as mentioned in above email. If we do get a position are classified as junior Safety Officers. Please help me with info if you can.


  56. wisani says:

    iam currently working as a sheq coordinator in a security company, iam asked to draft a communication program for our employees, from the ceo to the last person. please assist, i have a b-tech in biotecnology which is more into quality and i have a samtrac. i want to do a b-tech in sheq management, where can i do it

  57. Mpume Ngobese says:

    Hi Christel

    I am currently working as safety officer at a construction co. I would like to know if there is a specific checklists for site construction or the company must draw up one,also could you kindly assist me with checklists that I can use as I want to create myself a portfolio.

    your assistant will be highly appreciated

  58. Mpume Ngobese says:

    Hi again
    This is all very interesting I would also like to further my career in this industry as i find it very interesting,where can I further my career at a reasonable rates. What qualities must I have to be a excellent SHE manager I currently have a certificate in SHE management but want more,please help



  59. Thulile says:

    Good Day Christel

    I recently joined a growing civil and construction company as a SHEQ officer. My challenge is there had never been any kind of SHEQ system running, I have been tasked with the mammoth task of developing a SHEQ system. I would like your help in terms of guidance , as I need to submit a SHEQ plan for me and my bosses to go through . Kindly give me pointers on where to start.

    Thank you ever so much.


  60. Pieter says:

    Good day Christel

    I am not sure where to start< i had maybe a chance to start a small business within a bigger one, i did SAMTRACK, Fire Fighting courses(Fireman for 35 years)AEA coarse(10 years), Hazmat coarses, Training Certificate and some athers. Can you help with checklists for Health, Safety, Environment and what else i maybee need. Please
    Thanks so long

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