The workplace is an ever-changing environment, so it's important to implement regular site inspections, following a comprehensive facility inspection checklist. With new risks and hazards constantly arising, it is vital for business owners and CEOs to ensure they continuously fulfill their obligation to provide their employees with a safe workplace. Regular reviews ensure your workplace remains safe and keeps your safety procedures and items up to date, while also bringing to light new hazards. Make sure you have a well-structured and comprehensive list in place for complete and effective inspections.
The Significance of Workplace Inspections
The best way to identify and address hazards as they arise is to conduct regular safety and health inspections. Be sure to conduct these reviews at least every quarter as part of proper facility management. Inspections should not only address risks and hazards but the provision of staff training and the use of PPE. Part this process should include checking on safety equipment such as fire extinguishers and first aid kits. They need to be up to date and fully stocked.
Inspections also provide an opportunity for workers to raise their concerns and address any issues in relation to safety and health. Regular checks also mean that as new hazards arise, workers quickly notice and address them before accidents happen and individuals suffer injuries. This helps you prevent accidents in your warehouse, industrial facility, or office environment.
The Benefits of Health and Safety Checklists
The best way to ensure an effective and efficient safety inspection is to have a comprehensive checklist specific to your workplace. Checklists are only beneficial when followed, adhered to, and carried out. Not only do they prevent vague inspections and keep employees from missing important aspects, but they also provide a step-by-step method for analyzing machinery, work spaces, and safety and health practices and procedures.
Consider these additional benefits of inspections:
- They allow people to work systematically through the workplace, keeping the process focused, organized, and on task
- Written records provide accountability for those in charge of safety and health
- Written records also allow an outside agency to assess your safety and health guidelines and procedures, offering a clear record of regular and thorough inspections that confirm your business’ commitment to a safe working environment
- A systematic procedure ensures workers' safety and well-being is a priority, which improves workplace safety culture and gives employees confidence in safety standards
What to Include in a Safety Inspection Template
A warehouse facility inspection checklist includes different tasks and items to review when compared to an office inspection list. It's important that each workplace has a checklist specific to its working environment. Whether an industrial safety checklist or an office safety checklist, some things remain the same, such as:
- Building and grounds condition – floors, walls, exits, and walkways
- Housekeeping program – provision for adequate waste disposal, spillage, and cleaning methods, etc.
- Electricity – where fuses are, use of extension cords, switches, and circuits
- First aid program and supplies – up-to-date medical care
- Evacuation plan – ensuring an adequate and practiced procedure is in place in emergency situations
Plan your checklist in a logical order so the inspector can systematically tick off items during a walk-through of your workplace. Continue this method with items on the list. For example, when inspecting a machine, the list should walk the inspector through machine parts in the same order a worker would use the equipment. Conduct machinery checklists separately or at the same time as your facility inspection.
The following video provides some basic starter points to help you design an inspection template for your workplace:
OSHA created a checklist to provide guidance to small businesses for creating their own inspection lists. The OSHA facility safety inspection checklist is not all-inclusive, and parts of it may not apply to every business. It provides an ideal beginning point and allows you to select areas most critical to your business and incorporate these into your facility inspection checklist. Excel provides a great platform for compiling results with other records, such as accident and injury data, employee information, and machinery and equipment checks.
You can adjust the format of your list to your workplace needs. Hard copies provide a clear and precise way for the inspector to work through the review and allow for simple filing and storing of safety and health information. If you promote a paperless workplace, then using spreadsheets is an ideal way to electronically format and work through an inspection.
Tips for Your Checklist
When inspectors get accustomed to using the same checklist repeatedly, it can be easy to complete them quickly, without too much thought. This compounds if you do not have a list tailored to your specific workplace. To combat this, ensure your checklist precisely matches your safety requirements and workplace structure. Encourage your inspector to take notes during reviews and then schedule a follow-up meeting soon after it is complete to show that you take the process and the results seriously.
When using the same checklist repeatedly, new hazards may be more difficult to pick up on. If your inspector is looking for certain issues, he could fail to notice something not included on the list. If new processes or procedures are set in place, or there are machinery changes, this can intensify the issue of possible missed items. Keep your lists up to date to ensure they are in line with your workplace machinery and safety and health procedures.
Having multiple inspectors or breaking down checklists into two or three mini lists with a rotating schedule of inspectors is another great way to ensure that each review occurs with fresh eyes. With this approach, your inspectors don't acclimatize themselves to following the same facility inspection checklist.