There is no debate on the importance of constant Environment Health and Safety checks in the workplace. Particularly in companies that operate in the manufacturing and construction industries. Safety in these companies needs to be taken seriously. And this includes inspections and self-audits to make sure all safety standards are met.
Inspections can be performed in many ways, some companies assign a knowledgeable person to do a walk-through of the facility and look for problems, others have sit-down meetings to discuss observed hazards, meanwhile many facilities use checklists so inspections involve specific items and are recorded for future reference.
Using an EHS inspection checklist during audits may not be the most exciting or inventive approach, but it’ll help get the job done, provide a simple way to make inspections concrete, and improve operations and safety.
To emphasize this point of view below are some benefits of using the EHS Inspection Checklist:
1- Easier Audit
A safety audit checklist allows you to conduct a much easier examination of all possible hazards in the workplace. It also helps your personnel know what corrective actions should be taken to fix potential problems. Without using a checklist employees will spend more time performing audits and finding fewer problems that need to be fixed.
2- Tasks Completion
Because safety audits are repetitive, even though they are designed to guide your personnel through a proper inspection of every aspect of a specific asset or process, people tend to get messy with repetitive tasks and start omitting certain steps in safety audits because auditors became used to their regular process and let their mind wander. However, safety checklists keep them focused.
3- Keep Employees Organized
This is perhaps the biggest reason to use an EHS inspection checklist. there are so many details in an audit, big and small, which makes it easy to forget something or overlook it. Using a checklist employees will know everything that needs to be covered and when and where it should be covered during the inspection. In return, you will have more efficient audits that will save time.
4- Make Employees Accountable
Using checklists for a safety audit, in a checklist book, or as part of an auditing software program, means that there is always a record of which actions were performed. Therefore employees will have a greater sense of accountability.
Because there is no place to hide! If an employee is falling short of expectations in some way, it’ll be caught and someone will either be held accountable for missing it or responsible for fixing it. And safety will become a team effort because everyone will be responsible for the company’s shortcomings.
5- Improve Communication
Communication is key when it comes to safety, many accidents can be prevented if companies had better communication. Creating an EHS checklist is a form of communication. It is written and accessible to everyone, and each employee will know what it says and the items for which they are responsible. And no information will be lost or misunderstood.
6- Guarantee Confidence
By maintaining an EHS inspection checklist, you can be confident that all of your bases are covered. As long as the list is complete and checked there will be no question that every important safety item is being addressed. That also gives your company a sense of confidence that everything that you can possibly do to guarantee your worker's safety is being done.
Documentation is important!
When something goes wrong having an EHS checklist can be invaluable. If you are having an OSHA investigation over a potential compliance issue, you will need documents showing what safety hazards have been inspected so you can prove that you have taken steps to mitigate safety risks. In these situations, the more documents you have the best your situation is. Therefore having a documented list of your inspection procedures won’t hurt.
Potential Problems with checklists
As previously mentioned, when employees get used to checklists they tend to go through them very quickly without many thoughts. This problem happens more when checklists aren’t tailored to your workplace or aren’t specific enough. Encouraging notes, and quickly following up on issues revealed during inspections can help show employees that the company takes these checks seriously.
Also, checklists might not be very helpful in uncovering new hazards, because employees will be used to looking for certain issues, and they may ignore anything that is not mentioned in the checklist. Therefore checklists should always be updated when anything in the workplace changes (like getting a new machine for example).
OSHA has created a series of checklists to assist small businesses that range in subject matter from fire protection to hand tools. Some of these checklists may fit your workplace, while others can serve as a good starting point to build your own inspection checklist.
Now that you have learned about the benefits of using EH&S inspection checklist, learn how to prepare for and pass an inspection checklist.