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:
Isaac Granadossays:07/04/2016 at 1:57 pm
I am doing a presentation on Safety checklist, and I have looked over 29 CFR 1910 and 1926. Verbage pointing out to a “How To” of a safety checklist is hard to find, is the directive meant to be broad about this subject, or do you think I overlooked a certain portion of the material?
Karensays:07/06/2016 at 8:32 am
Thanks for your comment! Checklists are a standardized tool that many facilities use to gauge compliance and/or record inspection findings. They are especially helpful for routine inspections because having the inspection items documented on a piece of paper or in an electronic tablet means that that employees do not need to commit all of the inspection items to memory. But, if OSHA has published a comprehensive “how to” on putting together safety checklists, I haven’t found it yet.
There is some guidance on using checklists in OSHA’s Small Business Handbook. They provide more than 40 sample checklists as guidance documents to help facilities with inspections. OSHA does point out, however, that the checklists they provide in this manual are guidance documents only and not all-inclusive. It is up to the employer to add or remove items so that the checklist created is relevant and comprehensive enough to meet the facility’s specific needs.
The same is true of any checklist that you may find online or in publications. They should each be reviewed carefully and customized to fit the specific needs of each workplace, process or situation that is being reviewed or inspected. Customizing checklists helps ensure that your site’s specific safety needs are being met. It will also make inspections easier and simplify training efforts.
Good luck with your presentation!
lourdes pacuansays:02/11/2017 at 9:54 am
Timely article – I Appreciate the specifics ! Does someone know where my company might be able to grab a template HI Health and Safety Facility Checklist for Child Care Centers form to use ?
Karensays:02/16/2017 at 8:44 am
The most comprehensive information that I have seen is: Caring for Our Children: National Health and Safety Performance Standards – Guidelines for Early Care and Education Programs. It is a collection of more than 600 standards for health and safety in child care settings. More information on this book is available at http://cfoc.nrckids.org/
The California Childcare Health Program used this guidance to create a pretty comprehensive set of checklists http://cchp.ucsf.edu/sites/cchp.ucsf.edu/files/HS_Checklist.pdf
I hope this helps!
Johnsays:05/15/2018 at 6:21 pm
Thanks for this list of checklists. I didn’t know OSHA got as granular as to check administrative controls. OSHA helps keep people safe with their standards though!
Johnsays:07/24/2018 at 5:27 pm
I like that idea to create check lists. You wouldn’t want to have OSHA violations. They enforce policies that protect the workers after all. https://quickcharge.com/on-board-chargers-standard.html
Timsays:02/21/2020 at 3:40 pm
No walkway audit checklist?
Isabella Andersensays:02/24/2020 at 11:53 am
Great catch, Tim! Here’s a link to our walkway audit checklist.
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