All workers are guaranteed the right to conduct tasks in the safest conditions possible. Workplace safety observations are designed to assess the safety conditions of job sites and rectify any potential hazards. A safety observation checklist is a compact, organised document that allows workplace safety officers to conduct thorough safety observations and document any concerns. Safety observation checklists are specific to particular fields of work, but many items on a safety observation checklist are consistent throughout all fields.
A standard safety observation checklist should include a section that assesses the accessibility of fire evacuation routes and fire management systems including extinguishers, sprinklers and alarms. During a safety observation, determine the location and status of all fire extinguishers; all workplaces must be equipped with fire extinguishers according to the standards set by the United States Department of Labor Occupational Health and Safety Administration. All fire escape routes must be free of blockage from boxes or equipment; means of egress should be clearly marked with illuminated exit signs. Check the status of sprinkler and alarm systems; all alarm systems should be regularly tested to ensure proper working order.
Many work sites involve the presence of hazardous gases or liquids. Any gas under pressure is considered a potentially hazardous material. During a safety observation, the workplace safety officer must ensure that all pressurised gases are in containers equipped with a pressure release valve. Any hazardous material must be properly labelled with a sign that identifies the type of material and guidelines for safely handling the material. Flammable materials must be stored in a temperature regulated area apart from the main work area; use a checklist to assess the proper storage procedures for hazardous and flammable materials.
During an observation, use a checklist to determine employee adherence to proper hazardous waste disposal procedures. Checklists should address employee attire, appropriate containers and adherence to disposal standards set forth by OSHA.
First Aid and Medical Equipment
All employees must be aware of the location of standard first aid and safety equipment. A safety observation checklist records the number and location of clearly marked first aid kits in various areas of the work site. During an observation, ask an employee to show you the location of the nearest first aid kit should he need it in the event of an injury. Additional medical supplies like decontamination showers, defibrillators and eyewash stations may be applicable for a checklist in certain high-risk industries. Use a checklist to ensure that all medical stations are clean, accessible and in proper working order; ask an employee to demonstrate proper safety procedures and record her adherence to proper procedures on the checklist.
Employee Safety Protocols
One of the most important aspects of a workplace observation is employee performance. Observe employees during their normal course of work; use a checklist to assess their performance in regards to health and safety procedures relevant to their tasks. For instance, a food handler must properly sanitise a workspace before preparing food while a welder must wear proper safety gear before performing a welding task. A checklist should include industry-specific guidelines for proper attire, use of equipment, disposal of materials and adherence to guidelines for safety and cleanliness.
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