Special Topics in Safety Management

Checklists to Keep OSHA in Check

OSHA says checklists can ensure that important items are not overlooked in your safety inspections. But OSHA also warns that checklists neither be vague nor excessively detailed. Here is a solution that meets all those criteria.

Yesterday’s Advisor examined the School Safety Audit Checklist (consisting of several checklists, actually), compiled from work done by the Virginia State Education Department and modified by the New York State Police.

We saw that while the action items were tailored to the school environment, by changing just a few words (e.g., “students” to “employees,” “school” to “facility,” and “classroom” to “office”), most of these checklist items are applicable to any workplace.

Where school boards and parents oversee safety measures in our school systems, OSHA is the governmental safety authority for most workplaces. That means, in addition to organizational policies, another tier of compliance requirements for most safety professionals.

And while some OSHA requirements may seem burdensome, the need for them is hard to dispute. Statistics are a dime a dozen, but those that follow can’t help but give you pause: There are more than 6 million workplaces and 93 million workers in this country, and on a typical workday:

  • 17 workers are killed on the job by traumatic injuries,
  • 137 more workers die of occupationally related illnesses, and
  • 17,138 workers are injured.

Checklists keep airliners flying. They can keep your safety program up and running, too. See how in BLR’s award-winning Safety Audit Checklists program. Try it at no cost and no risk. Get the full story.

OSHA asks you to keep those numbers in mind when developing or revising your facility’s safety and health plan. And when you do, the agency recommends that you focus it on four key elements:

1. Management commitment and employee involvement. Management, OSHA says, should make it clear to employees that it is committed to safety and health protection as a fundamental value of the organization. Employee involvement, meanwhile, provides the means through which workers develop and express their commitment to safety and health protection, for themselves and for their fellow workers.

2. Worksite analysis. Through such measures as internal safety audits and inspections, each workplace should constantly be evaluated for safety hazards and ways to remove them. Effective management actively analyzes the work and worksite, to anticipate and prevent harmful occurrences.

3. Hazard prevention and control. Once hazards have been identified, positive steps should be taken to correct them. Even if hazards cannot be entirely eliminated, ways should be found to reduce them and prevent unsafe and unhealthful exposure.

4. Safety and health training. All workers need to receive effective training in safety and health matters. It’s often most effective when incorporated into other training about performance requirements and job practices. The complexity of the training will depend on the nature of the hazards and potential hazards at the site, but simple or complex, companies need to find ways to make sure it’s given on a regular, frequent basis.

With a sound safety and health plan in place, the next challenge is getting—and staying—in compliance.

OSHA says that your internal inspections can be helped by checklists, which can “ensure that important items are not overlooked.” It is important, though, that the checklists “avoid excessive detail, vague criteria, and forms which try to impress or overwhelm,” the agency says.

Where can you find a tool that contains checklists comprehensive enough to cover the many layers of OSHA requirements but that avoid “excessive detail” and “vague criteria”? You may have guessed that we have just such a resource in mind.

BLR’s Safety Audit Checklists is a unique, best-selling program providing more than 300 separate safety checklists, keyed to three different criteria:

OSHA compliance checklists, built right off the government standards in such key areas as hazcom, lockout/tagout, electrical safety, and many more. Have your managers complete these lists, and you’ll know exactly what inspectors will be looking for—and you’ll see any issues before they do.

Examine BLR’s best-selling Safety Audit Checklists program for 30 days at no cost … not even for return shipping. Get the details

“Plaintiff attorney” checklists, built around those non-OSHA issues that often attract lawsuits. These include workplace stress and violence, alcohol abuse, and insufficient job hazard analysis.

Safety management checklists that monitor the administrative procedures you need to have for topics such as OSHA 300 Log maintenance, training program scheduling and recordkeeping, and OSHA-required employee notifications.

All lists are reproducible. Just make as many copies as needed for all your supervisors and managers, and distribute. What’s more, the entire program is updated annually. You get new or revised checklists automatically as long as you remain in the program. And the cost averages only about $1 a checklist.

If this method to ensuring a safer, more OSHA-compliant workplace interests you, we will be happy to make Safety Audit Checklists available for a no-cost, no-obligation, 30-day evaluation in your office. Let us know, and we’ll be pleased to arrange it.