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Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence


Environmental sciences


Visual inspection is a core element in hazard identification. However, poorly conducted visual inspections are problematical for workplace inspection practice as observable hazards that should be seen, are often missed. To address this problem, a novel method; systematic visual search, was developed and tested under randomised controlled trial conditions using commercial kitchens as workplaces. A total of 211 participants were recruited and in the control condition, N = 104 conducted their visual inspection as normal. In the experimental condition, N = 107 received training in the use of systematic visual search. Control group participants were only able to identify a circa mean 33% of observable hazards in the kitchens. In contrast experimental group participants, using systematic visual search, observed a circa mean 50% of observable hazards present. This 17% improvement was highly significant, with a large effect size (p ≤ .001, Cohen’s d = 1.85).