Waiting to close the barn door until after the cows had gotten out is an old expression that motor carriers might be able to relate to if they are taking a reactive approach to preventing workplace incidents. Fixing hazards after an incident is the responsible thing to do and may prevent future occurrences, but the fact remains that if the incident resulted in an employee injury, an employee was injured and that cannot be undone. One way to get ahead of workplace injuries is to be proactive and perform facility inspections.
The purpose of facility inspections is to identify hazards that could injure a worker, cause equipment to break down, or otherwise cause a business interruption. According to OSHA, employers are responsible for providing a workplace that is free of known hazards. This means employers must take corrective measures to either remove or avoid a hazard completely or mitigate the risk of a loss by communicating the hazard to employees, conducting training, developing written processes and procedures, implementing engineering controls, and so on. The process all starts with conducting facility inspections to identify hazards. If regularly scheduled facility inspections are not a part of the company’s risk management strategy, here are basic tips to help get started.
Use a Checklist
Safety or Operations staff can develop an inspection checklist specific to the facility or look on the internet for free examples to get started. Areas to consider are safety, electrical safety, mechanical safety, hazard communication, and employee training, to name a few. Developing a written checklist is important because it holds the inspector accountable for being thorough and creates a written record so that other inspectors can review hazards that have been identified in the past and the corrective action taken.
Rotate inspectors on a monthly or quarterly basis and team them with a person from safety or the area being inspected, such as a mechanic when inspecting the shop. This is a great way to gain buy-in across departments and educate personnel on how to identify hazards in areas outside of their normal work.
Do not let the inspection results gather dust in a drawer somewhere. Discuss the results with the leadership team and develop a plan of action to address the hazards identified. Some hazards may be easy to remove or avoid while others may require considerable resources or input from multiple departments before action can be taken.
When senior management communicates the actions being taken to correct problems, this demonstrates their commitment to safety. Employees will appreciate this visible support, and it will boost morale.
Call to Action
- Develop a facility inspection checklist
- Assign personnel to conduct facility inspections on a monthly or quarterly basis
- Create a formal method for employees to report hazards to management
The information in this article is provided as a courtesy of Great West Casualty Company and is part of the Value-Driven® Company program. Value-Driven Company was created to help educate and inform insureds so they can make better decisions, build a culture that values safety, and manage risk more effectively. To see what additional resources Great West Casualty Company can provide for its insureds, please contact your Safety Representative, or click below to find an agent.
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