Creating a 'Safety Checklist' for your workplace can seem like a big task however it is vital in keeping your workplace safe and helping in the managing of risks. A checklist will help to identify hazards, guide the process of the inspection and the person or people conducting the inspection (the inspector/s) to keep track of where they are up to. Without a checklist it is easy to overlook important areas which can lead to dangerous consequences down the track.
Checklists will vary depending on your workplace. However, all safety inspection checklists should have certain aspects in common no matter what area they are for.
Firstly, a proper safety checklist must cover all areas that may potentially provide hazards this includes the people, the environment, the equipment and the processes involved. This also includes any areas that are or are highly likely to develop into conditions that are not safe or pose a risk to health due to stress (emotional or physical), general wear and tear, impact, reverberation, high temperatures, corrosive elements or chemical reactions.
Secondly it is important that the checklist is divided into appropriate sections. Below each section important items that are related to that specific section should be listed. These can include items such as electrical cords, machinery storage and chemicals.
Thirdly there should be a suitable section to record comments, date/time of inspection and yes or no if it was inspected. Comment sections can also include a section for the recommended priority for it to be seen to and inspected again. The appearance of the checklist and whether these sections are separate or not will largely depend on your organisation and what is being inspected. It is important that the checklist is easy to read and be understood by all employees.
When compiling a checklist, remember to research the correct regulations that apply to your state/territory and workplace. Make sure that the checklist helps people to think about what the underlying causes of the problem may be and not just 'tick a box'. It is also not meant to be an encyclopaedic paradigm; however, they should cover all known hazards within each specific area. Note that not all hazards are physical or related to machinery. The checklist needs to help guide the inspectors however they should also to be able to provide constructive conversation around health and safety topics. The checklist needs to be able to adapt to changes in the work-environment and it is important that all who are involved with it know this. Including pictures with the checklist can help show the area inspected and any potential hazards that have been identified.