Make Fewer Safety Mistakes By Using Multiple Checklists

No matter what kind of building you operate from, it’s prone to damage from pests, harsh weather, and native animals. It’s also susceptible to damage from not being regularly maintained, or according to building codes. All of these factors can create an unsafe environment for you, your employees, and your customers.

For example, in the summer, a colony of carpenter ants might move into the foundation and slowly expand until it crumbles when a customer walks up the stairs. Or, you could find wasps nesting in the rafters of your on-site storage shed and not know until you go inside. Severe windstorms often knock over trees that damage anything they fall on. Gophers and moles create trip and fall hazards with their holes and mounds.

These kinds of problems sneak up fast, becoming a hazard before you know it. The only way to ward them off early is by creating a checklist that includes looking for these types of hazards.

Stay on top of safety checks

To ensure your business remains safe for employees and customers, you’ve got to stay on top of performing safety checks. Safety checks require looking at things that aren’t always on your mind. For example, you don’t think about your fire extinguisher every day, but it has an expiration date and needs to be recharged after use.

In addition to infrequent safety checks, you also need to look for common hazards like loose boards, protruding nails, and dangerous pests. Restaurants, especially, have to keep track of safety laws to pass health inspections.

Using checklists to stay on top of safety checks is the most efficient way to ensure they get done. When your employees are responsible for performing safety checks, they’ll benefit most from a checklist.

During a typical day, employees have a full plate dealing with front and back-end duties, and a checklist makes their job easier. Rather than having to think about what needs to be done, they can look at a checklist and move quickly from task to task. This conserves energy. The brain utilizes 25% of available glucose; more than any other organ in the human body. Checklists prevent unnecessary cognitive processing, preserving glucose for more pressing tasks at hand.

When you discover hazards, prioritize resolutions

What would you do if you had to choose between fixing broken concrete on your front steps or eliminating a hive of wasps in a storage shed out back? Every situation is different, but generally, you should prioritize the hazard that poses the largest amount of risk to your customers and employees.

Law experts agree that what’s hazardous to one person might be safe to another, and what’s reasonable is a matter of interpretation. For example, a molehill wouldn’t necessarily be a hazard to your employees, but it would be a hazard to a customer with poor eyesight. Also, damage to a building from a fallen tree might not look bad on the outside, but if the structural damage is too great, you don’t want to be inside when it collapses.

Create daily, weekly, and monthly safety checklist

Not everything needs to be checked daily. For example, you wouldn’t check the expiration date on your fire extinguisher each day. Although, you might want to check to make sure it’s in the right spot.  

Your daily safety checklist should encompass things that might pose an immediate danger. Loose boards, rusty nails, carpet tack strips, broken shelving, and glancing at ceiling tiles are all examples of what to check daily.

Weekly checklists are good for making sure the inside of your business remains free from collected debris that customers or employees might trip over. When business is booming, it’s easy to pile things haphazardly on top of shelves and forget about it – until it falls down and hits you in the head.

Monthly safety checklists can include things that don’t pose immediate danger like checking for leaks in the roof, peeking into crawlspaces and storage sheds, and calling your pest control company to perform regular maintenance. Here’s a decent example of a checklist you might use on a monthly basis.

Supplement your checklists with a calendar

Create a calendar to mark down special dates when action needs to be taken. For instance, mark down your fire extinguisher’s expiration date, the expiration date of your first-aid kit, and anything else requiring time-sensitive maintenance. Put the task “check calendar” on your daily checklist, so you don’t miss anything.

Using checklists and a calendar to stay compliant with safety regulations eliminates the stress of forgetting something important. You’ll make fewer avoidable mistakes by documenting tasks in a checklist.

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