Get management involved in safety inspections
Date Posted: 09/07/2021
Managers and executives can show their commitment to safety by joining periodic walk-around inspections. They’ll see first-hand how hazards are identified and addressed. They’ll also be able to ask employees about safety, hazard reporting, and training.
Plan the walkthrough
Planning helps an inspection go smoothly, and helps ensure that managers observe the procedures they want to see. To prepare, managers and executives should:
- Review past inspection reports to familiarize themselves with previously identified hazards and control methods;
- Review reports of injuries, near misses, and property damage to identify the most hazardous operations;
- Consult with supervisors and safety committees regarding current safety issues;
- Obtain the required personal protective equipment (PPE) for the areas being inspected;
- Review any training on hazard identification that workers receive; and
- Review production schedules and conduct the inspection during active operations.
Tips for managers
During the walk-around, executives and managers should:
- Wear appropriate PPE.
- Talk to workers, since they likely know about the hazards and safety issues in their jobs. Reassure workers that inspections are done to find and fix hazards, not to place blame.
- Ask open-ended questions such as:
- What is your most hazardous task? How do you eliminate those hazards?
- If you’ve been injured, what was the injury and how did it happen? What was done to make your job safer?
- Look for obvious hazards such as blocked exits, frayed electrical wires, missing machine guards, or poor housekeeping.
- Look for property damage such as walls or doors damaged by equipment or forklifts.
- Talk to recently hired workers to get fresh perspectives and insights on the safety program.
- Observe workers performing their jobs. Do they lift heavy objects or perform repetitive motions? Do they handle chemicals? Do they work in excessive heat? If so, a more detailed evaluation by a safety professional may be needed.
Management should understand the production area workflow to better appreciate the hazards to employees. Although managers might occasionally pass through production areas, joining a safety inspection can help them understand the challenges of addressing those hazards. After the walkthrough, prioritize the hazards that must be addressed, brainstorm with workers on possible solutions, and follow up as soon as possible.
How Safety Management Suite Can Help
Employers can quickly verify their state of compliance (or quickly identify problems) using the convenient checklists found in the J. J. Keller SAFETY MANAGEMENT SUITE. You’ll find them in the Audits and Inspections area within the Checklists link. We’ve provided checklists on more than 100 topics ranging from Aerial Lifts to Warehouses.