Routine safety walkthroughs are an essential component of every safety program. They allow safety officers and supervisors to evaluate the program, detect deficiencies, and identify actions and areas that need improvement. Routine safety walkthroughs of a workplace are fundamental for maintaining and improving safety and health.
The issue is that, due to the “routine” nature of the process, supervisors can easily overlook important elements of any safety walkthrough.
What Is the Purpose of a Routine Safety Walkthrough?
- Identifying potential safety and health hazards
- Assessing the status of safety in the workplace
- Providing feedback to personnel on proper safety practices
- Looking for ways to improve current processes and procedures
- Demonstrating supervisor commitment to the latest safety standards
- Raising awareness of safety and health with personnel
Tips for Conducting a Successful Routine Safety Walkthrough
Supervisors should follow these steps:Get into the safety mindset.
You’ve performed walkthroughs so many times; nonetheless, try to approach each new walkthrough like it’s your first time. Do your best to relearn the working environment and focus on changes instead of confirming the status quo.Create an inspection checklist.
Before going on a routine walkthrough, you’ll need to develop an inspection checklist appropriate to your working environment. This checklist will allow you to identify common trends, compare results from other supervisors, and focus on specific areas during your walkthrough.Never rush through a walkthrough.
If you don’t allow yourself enough time, you risk missing something important. It often happens that routine tasks drop down on the priority list because they are routine. This can create a bad habit of doing a walkthrough quickly—right before lunch, a meeting, shift end, etc.Try to follow a different route.
This is excellent for breaking the routine of doing the same thing every time. We do want to find repeat problems, but we may overlook or obscure them by viewing the same space from the same angle. Next time enter from a different part of the building or go in the opposite direction of your regular route.Pick a theme area to focus on.
Because workplaces are dynamic and complex, supervisors have a long list of things to look for during a routine inspection. For supervisors who conduct high-frequency walkthroughs, it can be smart to choose a central theme of each walkthrough. Occasionally designate one area to focus on more closely than you otherwise would for that type of inspection.Start conversations.
It’s easy for supervisors to get tunnel vision, so they should never limit their resources to what they see. Getting a second opinion is always a good thing because you can’t be everywhere at any given moment. Get your personnel involved by asking them whether they’ve observed issues or need anything. Besides providing an additional informed viewpoint , this dialogue will break the monotony of the routine walkthrough.
When doing a routine safety walkthrough, you should look at the entire safety program of your organization, including:
- Workplace environment
- Emergency plans
- Employee training.
Regular inspections and walkthroughs are not just a box that supervisors need to check daily, weekly, or monthly. They are essential components of any safety program review.