Track the Completion of Action Plans Launched from Inspections – Safetip #218

Safety Tip and Best Practice
September 09, 2020

Our latest Safetip is about tracking the completion of action plans launched during or after inspections.

Action Plans from Inspections

As part of your safety program, you conduct different types of inspections, including:

  • General inspections that look at all hazards in an entire plant or facility.
  • Targeted inspections that:
    • Focus on a specific type of hazard or risk (slips, trips and falls, exposure to hazardous chemicals, etc.)
    • Verify specific equipment or machinery (e.g. forklifts, pipes, storage tanks, etc.)
    • Are required by regulations (e.g. inspections of the energy control procedure required by OSHA’s lockout/tagout standard)

If you’re lucky, or if your EHS department is doing a fantastic job, then your inspections won’t uncover anything. But chances are that you will come across an issue at some point, for example:

  • A new hazard is identified.
  • A control is not effective in mitigating a risk.
  • A procedure or work practice is not being properly followed by employees.
  • An equipment or machinery is not being properly serviced or maintained.

Identifying a problem is only the first step. Addressing it is more important. This is why action plans must be launched as a result of inspection findings to address identified issues.

Many people will launch action plans following an inspection. But it’s better to be even more proactive and launch action plans during the inspection itself through a mobile app.

A Potential Leading Indicator

Failing to launch an action plan after identifying a problem during an inspection is bad enough. But failing to complete an action plan on time can also be bad.

Software technology can help to ensure that action plans are completed on time by sending reminders to task owners and providing status updates. Here’s a typical example of steps:

  1. An employee conducts a facility-wide inspection of PPE using a mobile app.
  2. He discovers that in one particular work area, respirators are old and need to be replaced.
  3. From the same mobile app, he launches an action plan to replace the old respirators.
  4. The mobile app is connected to the EHS software system, so the action plan is now also entered in the system, which allows everyone to track its status, including through dashboards.
  5. The employee responsible for PPE at that particular facility receives a notification on her smartphone or tablet that she has a new task assigned to her.
  6. After she places an order for new respirators, she updates the action plan either through a mobile device or computer.
  7. When the new respirators arrive, she updates the action plan again, and closes it.
  8. EHS management personnel can now see in the EHS software that the action plan was successfully completed. They can also see whether it was completed on time.

Moreover, a document from OSHA on leading indicators includes examples of leading indicators that can be used to improve a safety and health program. One of them consists of the following:

“Tracking Completion of Action Items from Inspections to Improve Hazard Prevention and Control”

The document says that you can track the number of past-due action items (or action plans) since your last inspection. For example, you can set a goal not to exceed 10% on past-due action plans.

You then calculate your percentage of past-due action plans. If you did not complete at least 90% of your action plans, it may indicate that there is a larger issue to address.

EHS software like Enablon can help to track the status of action plans launched from inspections, and determine how many of them were completed on time.

Our Safetips share safety tips or best practices that contribute to safety excellence. Visit our blog regularly for new Safetips!

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Jean-Grégoire Manoukian

Content Thought Leader - Wolters Kluwer | Enablon