The goal of any safety-focused business owner or manager is to spot problems before they happen. Dealing with a work-related injury or fatality is a tragic event that no supervisor ever wants to face. While it’s impossible to bring your risk to zero, there are some concrete steps that can be taken to head off an accident before it happens. OSHA has created a detailed guide the describes the basics of an effective manager-led safety walkthrough, from pre-inspection planning to post-inspection safety remediation. It lists helpful steps to take at each stage of the process. Here’s what you need to know.
- Get prepared — Look at safety data from the previous months. If accidents have occurred, where did they happen and with whom? Are there patterns in the information that’s been collected?
- Talk to stakeholders — From managers to employees, get the safety perspective from the people who live it. Managers and workers both have unique perspectives. Talking to one or more representatives from each group can help you gain access to important details of your operation you’d otherwise miss.
- See it first hand — Before the inspection occurs, spend time watching the daily operations of your facility unfold. Managers or business owners often miss serious safety issues because they’re disconnected from the day-to-day workflow.
- Dress for the part — Make sure you have the correct PPE for each setting you plan to inspect. It’s tough to respect a manager who doesn’t follow protocol but expects others to. Workers can spot hypocrisy a mile away!
- Keep an eye out for hazards — As you move from building to building or job site to job site, watch for tripping, electric, or other safety hazards. Is an exit blocked with boxes or equipment, is the ventilation system working properly to provide workers with a safe source of fresh air?
- Look for signs of damage — Ensure equipment and the facility are free from wear and tear that can pose safety risks. A piece of machinery or poorly maintained equipment, damaged flooring, or even a cluttered workstation is an accident waiting to happen.
- Follow up quickly with solutions — As soon as possible, provide your inspection findings in writing. Your report should detail what safety concerns you observed and what steps will be followed to fix them. Be specific with timelines for remediation.
- See your plan through — Meet with managers or individual workers to ensure necessary changes are made. Being willing to devote the time and financial resources needed to effect important changes in safety practices sends a message to your people that this is a top priority.
- Don’t stop — Any operation evolves and changes over time. As business operations grow or adjust to client needs, safety risks change too. Make it a priority to conduct new, updated safety assessments on a periodic basis to ensure you’re current with the challenges that face your business.
There’s no silver bullet when it comes to creating a safe environment for your workers. But by taking an active role in promoting a culture of safety in your business, word will make it out to your people that you value their well-being. Safe, healthy workers are the foundation of any successful workplace.