Facility Inspection: A Way to Get Everyone Involved In Safety

Jeff Anderson
Safety Consultant

Your company's overall safety program should include taking a look at your facilities from an OSHA compliance standpoint. This is not only a basic requirement for employee safety, it's good business. Avoiding OSHA fines for non-compliance is a management responsibility for sure, but it can be something that gets everybody in your company involved.

We often struggle with ways to get people involved in safety. Incentives, safety committees and internal safety promotions are all good ways to do this. But, why not something as simple as having an employee conduct a facility inspection? You'll be surprised at how many employees jump at the chance to point out to management things that need to be corrected.

Each of us look at things slightly different. So if you get more than one person looking at the same thing, you're likely to get a slightly different perspective. If only one person looks at the same maintenance shop week after week, they are likely to not take it as seriously after a while. So spreading these inspections around to several employees is a good way to make sure nothing is being missed and that the inspections are not being “pencil whipped.” 

Of course, as this responsibility is spread around, more things that need to be corrected are likely to come to light. This is a double-edged sword. On one hand, its good to identify areas that need to be dealt with that may have been missed by someone else. On the other hand, you must get them corrected once they have been brought to your attention. If an employee does an inspection and identifies an extension cord in the shop that is frayed and needs to be replaced, it's a problem that must be resolved. Failure to do so not only puts employees' safety at risk, but you lose credibility for the process if you do nothing. So be prepared.

Findings that are systemic to your business should be brought before the safety committee for recommendations as to how they can be corrected. Remember, OSHA does not care how busy you are or how much something costs to correct. If it’s out of compliance and they come for a visit, you will be fined. And, if you've noted it over and over on an inspection sheet and did nothing? This could lead to willful violations. So again, be prepared to act.

Getting all employees involved in safety is a worthy goal and the sign of a healthy safety culture. Regular inspection of your facilities by multiple employees is a great way to do this and gain valuable information. Taking quick action to correct things brought to your attention that are out of compliance is a great way to build credibility with your workforce. So don’t be afraid to ask the person who answers the phones to take a look at the shop.

This is one way to gain employee commitment to safety. If you've had success with other ideas, please share by posting a comment below.