Blog Post

Why Your Safety Audit Checklist Needs an Update

Posted by Brett Long

worker doing a digital safety audit checklist under a bridge

When it comes to phone lines and other infrastructure, we all understand that nothing lasts forever. Your management tools and techniques also need to be refreshed. Take your safety audit checklist as an example. Does your current checklist reflect lessons learned from your frontline staff?

These hard-working documents need to be updated on an annual basis. That review cycle ensures you stay productive and current with safety requirements. Consider these areas to determine if your checklist needs to be updated.

1. You Cannot Remember When the Checklist Was Created

Think back to the first time you used the checklist. Did it strike you as out-of-date at that time? If so, the problem may have become worse over time. If there is no record of when or how the checklist was created, it is due for an update.

2. Your Staff Complain About Using the Checklist

Listen to the people who work around you — are they frustrated or bothered by using the safety audit checklist? In listening to these comments, seek out specific observations, such as complaints about answering complicated questions. If you take the initiative to update your checklist, you will make life easier for everyone you work with.

3. Checklists Are Frequently Returned Incomplete

If you are in a management role, you might be in the position to receive and review completed safety audit checklists. If that is your situation, ask yourself about the quality of the completed checklists. Is each question properly answered? Are the responses readable? Are the checklists filed on time? If you are not satisfied with the answers to those questions, it may be time to update your checklist.

4. You Are Still Using Paper Checklists

Don’t get me wrong — there are still a few cases where paper is a good option. You might like to read a paperback book right before going to sleep. You might also find it helpful to take a paper notebook to meetings so you can focus on the meeting. When it comes to safety checklists, however, it just doesn’t make sense anymore.

If you are using paper checklists, it is time to update your checklists and transition to a digital process.

5. Your Staff Use the Checklist Inconsistently

Incomplete responses on your safety checklists are one problem, but inconsistent usage is a different problem entirely. One person may take detailed measurements while another uses rough estimates. Inconsistent usage suggests that your checklist has confusing elements. In that case, it is due for an update.

6. Your City Passed New Safety Laws or Regulations

Safety mistakes and failures or OSHA violations can result in major problems for your organization. Staying on top of regulations and guidelines is essential to keeping everyone safe at work. If your state, city or country has recently changed laws relating to health and safety or construction, your safety audit checklist needs to be updated to reflect these changes.

Update Your Safety Audit Checklist This Week In 4 Steps

If your safety audit checklist has two or more reasons to prompt a review, it is time to get started. Fortunately, the update process does not have to be complicated.

1. Schedule Time On Your Calendar

Open your calendar and schedule 30-60 minutes to review your checklist and audit procedures. If your organization uses Microsoft Outlook or a similar shared calendar tool, booking this time will discourage others from disturbing you.

2. Review Your Safety Experience

Over the past year, what have you observed in your safety inspection work? If you have had injuries or significant property damage, those incidents may suggest new items to add to your safety checklist. Don’t forget to review any job safety analyses completed for your organization. Remember that safety problems are not always physical — accidents may occur due to insufficient training or management oversight.

3. Review Safety Requirements

Time to do your homework on the safety laws and regulations that govern your location and industry. If you are part of a larger company, check to see if there is an in-house lawyer to help you. Otherwise, you will need to do research on your own.

Tip: To find new changes to safety laws, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s Law & Regulates website is an excellent place to start your research.

4. Create An Updated Checklist

Go through your notes and start making changes to your safety audit checklist. If you already have an e-form or online checklist, this will be easy to do. Once you make the changes, ask a few other people to validate the changes before you put them into use.

Don’t be held back by paperwork. Turn your checklists and audits into mobile forms.

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