Safetip #121: Follow-Up Activities After a Safety Walkaround
Conduct Safety Walkarounds Periodically
Last week’s Safetip was about a new fact sheet from OSHA that provides guidance to managers for conducting safety walkarounds. Safety walkarounds can help to identify issues and contribute to better communication in the workplace.
Walkarounds should be conducted periodically because they demonstrate management’s commitment to improving workplace safety and health. They also give managers an opportunity to see for themselves how the safety and health program is working, and whether it is effectively identifying and addressing hazards.
Before starting a safety walkaround, managers should take time to get familiar with the workplace and operations, and the hazards that have been previously identified. During the walkaround, managers should use a walkaround checklist through a mobile app for inspections, and use the app also to record issues on the spot. After the safety walkaround, there are follow-up activities that should take place.
Follow-Up Activities Establish Credibility
OSHA’s fact sheet puts a strong emphasis on the need to have post-walkaround activities. It says that post-walkaround follow-up is important because it allows managers to establish credibility as colleagues who are committed to improving safety. Failure to follow up can often affect worker participation and enthusiasm, which can be hard to regain.
Very soon after the walkaround, managers should prepare an abatement plan containing a list of issues found and recorded through the mobile inspection app, corrective actions needed, and a timeline for implementation. Some complex issues may require additional investigation. For identified hazards, measures should be taken to address them, and interim controls can be implemented while more permanent ones are developed, OSHA says.
Finally, the abatement plan should be shared with managers, supervisors and workers to show a commitment to fix safety issues found during the walkaround. Progress should be tracked by communicating periodic updates, and all corrective actions should be implemented in a reasonable timeframe.
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