Facilities that have comprehensive safety programs in place and that self-audit those programs regularly are typically well-prepared for a surprise Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) inspection. Now, that doesn’t mean that OSHA won’t find something, but it’s far less likely that the inspectors will fill multiple notebooks during their visit.
Want to be among those types of facilities? Who wouldn’t? Unfortunately, some facilities create great plans and stop there. Great plans sitting on a shelf often don’t do much to help ensure safety. That’s why so many regulations require facilities to routinely check up on the plan to make sure things are being done correctly. For some safety plans, you might only need to check things once or twice a year. Others require audits once a month, once a week or once a day. That can really add up!
One way to manage all of these requirements is to create checklists to help safety line officers, production managers and others who need to perform routine audits. No one wants to drag around a big binder and read the full verbiage of the site’s plan every time they’re required to do an audit.
Checklists break down complex plans into manageable action steps. Well-written checklist questions guide whoever is using them, and allow them to complete the audit quickly and effectively. They can also help whoever is using them to come to a concrete answer for each question by removing the chance for judgment calls: it’s either yes, no or a measurement.
One great thing about checklists is that when an audit is completed, it can be stored as proof of compliance with standards. OSHA has even created a broad assortment of checklists to help facilities meet auditing requirements of many common standards. It’s best to customize them to meet your facility’s needs, but here are some to help get you started: