Worker safety continues to be a major focus in the manufacturing industry. Creating a culture of safety has many components, and it all starts with leadership playing a key role in the success of a program.
A safety walkaround is one way that leaders can show their commitment to their organization’s safety program.
Conducting a walkaround accomplishes two goals:
It improves management’s engagement and shows that you’re concerned for your employees’ wellbeing.
It allows you to see firsthand how your existing safety and health program is working and where some improvements might be needed.
Before you start your walkaround, it’s important to do your pre-inspection. Look at past inspection reports and any previously noted concerns or safety violations. Examine your past workers’ comp claims and injury reports, talk to your other managers and supervisors about their concerns, and also meet with your workplace safety committee.
The Safety Walkaround
When it’s time for your inspection, avoid having too many people involved, which can inhibit communication with other workers who are out on the floor. Make sure you practice what you preach by wearing the proper PPE during your walkaround.
Be alert to hazards, some of which may include:
Tripping hazards — falls are the #1 cause of injury in the workplace
Exposed electrical wiring
Missing safety features on machines, such as safety guards
Improper Lockout/Tagout protocols
Messy work areas
Create a list of the hazards you find and prioritize which areas need to be addressed first based on the severity.
Once you’ve completed your inspection, follow through on your commitment to improve the organization’s safety. Prepare a plan to address the items on your list. Be sure to include the corrective actions and a reasonable amount of time for those things to be implemented. Share your plan with fellow supervisors as well as the floor workers. Then put the plan into action and, after that, check in with them frequently to make sure that things are still going okay.
Your employees are your greatest asset, and the best way to ensure their well being is by having everyone embrace a culture of safety. It’s not enough to simply have a safety committee. It needs to start with your leadership, taking the time to engage with your workers, listening to their concerns, digging deeper, and then following through on making those improvements.
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