Tips on How to Develop a Safety Checklist

Tips on How to Develop a Safety Checklist

Safety checklists vary in size, format and purpose. They can be used on a daily or weekly basis to identify hazards, ensure hazard controls are in place or prior to a safety committee meeting to gather items for discussion. They can ensure that important items are checked regularly and consistently but care should be taken that things not on the checklist are not overlooked. They are a good tool for creating hazard awareness and provide documented proof that the site takes a proactive approach to hazard identification. Here are few useful tips if you are trying to develop your own checklist. This list is not exhaustive!

  • Find an existing example and modify it – please modify it! I have seen things like “snow cleared from side walks” in a Tropical Island Resort. If you do a search on this website you will find heaps of good example checklists.
  • Identify the real purpose of the checklist – is it hazard id, a control audit or an educational tool?
  • Anything you identify during the process that is an issue or not on the checklist should be included in an updated checklist for the next time it is used ie as part of the monitoring routine.
  • Develop the checklist in consultation with those who will use it and those who’s areas will be checked – then trial it
  • Be specific – there is no value in having one generic checklist that covers the entire site. Separate and unique checklists should be developed for each work area or dept ie office, warehouse, transport, manufacturing, maintenance.
  • Some things just don’t change over a short period of time ie there is no point in having “are automatic fire sprinklers installed” on a daily checklist. Consider a range of checklists that vary in detail for daily, weekly, monthly and annual checks
  • Compare your checklist to any legislative requirements or industry standards
  • Avoid tick box – these can be done from home! You should require an comment for every question
  • Spread the load – have people take it in turns to use the checklist.
  • Make it dynamic – if you discover a new issue when using the checklist then add it to the checklist to ensure that it has been controlled for the next time
  • The checklist should be combined with a system to address the issues identified ie hazard register, maintenance log etc
  • A picture tells a thousand words. Take before and after photos of anything identified and rectified.
  • Consider who will be using the checklist. All questions should be simple and unambiguous.
  • Don’t try and fit too many questions on one page, space it out

That will do for now. You might also be interested in this: [Download not found]

Barry Spud

Barry Spud

Safety Crusader, Zero Harm Zealot and Compliance Controller at Everything Safety
Barry Spud

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Barry Spud
What is a Safety Spud? Lets look at a few more spud head activities in risk and safety: 1. Coming on to site saying there is a safety issue when in fact there’s no such thing, it’s a political issue. 2. ‘Falling apart’ when people make choices that we think are stupid because they won’t do as we ‘tell’ them. Then we put on the angry face and think that overpowering others creates ownership. 3. Putting on the zero harm face, presenting statistics, knowing it has nothing to do with culture, risk or safety. 4. Putting on the superman (hazardman) suit and pretending to be the saviour of everything, this is good spud head cynic stuff. 5. Thinking that everyone else is a spud head except me. 6. Thinking there’s such a thing as ‘common’ sense and using such mythology to blame and label others. 7. Accepting safety policies and processes that dehumanize others. 8. Blaming, ego-seeking, grandstanding and territory protecting behind the mask of safety. 9. Thinking that risk and safety is simple when in fact it is a wicked problem. Denying complexity and putting your spud head in the sand. 10. Continually repeating the nonsense language and discourse of risk aversion that misdirect people about risk, safety, learning and imagination.

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