It is the employers’ responsibility to ensure that their employees are protected, for their safety and health. If an employee complains that their workplace is unsafe, or there is an imminent danger situation at work, OSHA will perform an inspection, as it is their responsibility to ensure that companies are complying with safety and health regulations. Therefore, it is very important that companies schedule their own informal inspections, depending on the hazards and conditions that apply to the specific job duties. Very hazardous workplaces should be inspected weekly, and less dangerous workplaces, such as offices, should be inspected at least monthly.
If employees are included on the safety inspection team, they are motivated to comply with safety rules. Because they are the ones who face certain risk factors, and can easily identify them, they will ensure that the problem has been remedied. Rotating team members as safety leaders can balance the responsibilities of each person. Later, team meetings can be held with supervisors to discuss the problems, how to solve them, and follow up to ensure they have been fixed.
Here are some suggestions for checklists for safety inspectors. Keeping one at the workstation would be a daily reminder for all employees to keep a watch on things, as well.
- Are stairways clean, clear, and well lit?
- Do workers obey warning signs?
- Are there safety posters in several places?
- Are the posters changed often?
- Are work areas neat, clean, and orderly?
- Is lighting adequate?
- Are floors free of slippery, dangerous materials?
- Is there loose carpeting in carpeted areas?
- Are the aisles clear?
- Are fire alarms and exits easily accessible?
- Does everyone know how to use fire extinguishers?
- Does the sprinkler system operate properly?
- Are emergency exits open and accessible?
- Do all employees know emergency exits and routes?
- Are emergency numbers posted by all telephones in the work area?
- Are there adequate first aid supplies?
- Are eyewash stations and emergency showers available?
- Are machines and equipment clean and properly maintained?
- Are required guards in place and operating properly?
- Are electric wires in good condition?
- Are lockout/tagout procedures followed during maintenance and repair?
- Are equipment repairs performed only by qualified personnel?
This is a sample checklist; chances are you can customize one that suits your particular workplace. Many times, we take things for granted and don’t spot hazards that are right in front of us. Getting employees in the habit of being aware of the safety of their own “little corner of the world” will be beneficial to the company, as well as the workers.