Workplace facility inspections help to identify and document hazards. These hazards require corrective action to prevent accidents and incidents. Utilizing a Facility Inspection Checklist when performing your building and property safety audits provides a practical method for documenting facility hazards.
Every workplace needs to follow local safety regulations for the betterment of staff and clients alike. When you document hazards within your facility using a facility inspection checklist or audit sheet, you are proactively working towards a zero accident scenario; the ultimate safety goal for every organization.
According to the CCOHS in Canada, the purpose of facility inspections is as follows:
- Listen to (and document) the concerns of staff.
- Gain insight into jobs and tasks in the workplace.
- Identify both existing and possible hazards.
- Determine causes of hazards.
- Recommend and document corrective action.
- Monitor and document the elimination hazards or controlling the risks through processes, procedures, personal protective equipment, or other means.
Included In The Facility Inspection Checklist
The facility inspection checklist is your all-in-one general facility safety audit template you can use for office, warehouse, or other workplace facility types. Let’s take a quick look at what’s on the two-page checklist.
The First Section Of The Facility Inspection Checklist – Administrative
Any time you document a facility inspection, there are some obvious requirements to the documentation process. These requirements include the inclusion of the name of the person performing the inspection, the facility location/address, date/time of inspection, and perhaps even facility type (useful for facilities with multiple purposed buildings).
General Housekeeping And Travel Areas
The facility inspection begins with general housekeeping information and travel areas. These travel areas are the common walkways, designated pedestrian walking areas, vehicle and equipment travel and storage areas, and exterior building vehicular and pedestrian walkways and areas.
The general housekeeping and travel areas focus on trip hazards, handrails, obstructions, and other dangers that may or may not present themselves within a facility travel zone or area.
Depending on the nature of your organization, your safety audit may include various types of equipment. We’ve included the facility areas where equipment may find a use for all intents and purposes, assuming that you will take advantage of using an equipment-specific safety audit checklist or vehicle walk-around inspection form for your business’ equipment. The bulk of safety equipment noted in this section refers to first-aid kits, eye-wash stations, fire-exit signs and hardware, and other safety-related equipment items generally used in workplace facilities.
Looking for other vehicle or equipment inspection documents? Try one of these:
Most workplaces have some form of hazardous materials. Even toilet bowl cleaner or drain cleaner is considered a dangerous chemical. Businesses have a responsibility to keep all hazardous materials safely stored and keep GHS information readily available. This section focuses on the safe storage and labeling of any/all hazardous materials within the workplace. Hence, your facility safety audit includes all the possible risks and hazards of dangerous chemicals and materials.
Warehousing And General Safety
Warehouses can be hazardous environments. If you’ve ever watched a video of racking collapse, you’ll know how fast warehouses can be places of extreme danger. Forklifts or other vehicles or equipment are often found driving about warehouses. Mixing in pedestrian staff traffic into areas where vehicles or equipment operate is a dangerous venture. That’s why inspection to identify risks is of vital importance.
This section covers some basic warehousing and general safety items commonly inspected in warehouse facilities. Items such as warehouse racking weight capacity placards and racking guards are included in this section to help you identify and prevent vehicular accidents such as forklift accidents.
Did You Know? Forklifts account for approximately 85 deaths per year and result in approximately 34,900 serious injuries annually. (source)
Tools And Equipment
Most manufacturing and warehousing facilities include a tool room or maintenance area. These areas are often a source for hazards from broken equipment laying about, oil spills from mechanical or hydraulic equipment, tools, and other sharp or blunt objects, and equipment or machinery used in facility maintenance and repair.
Maintaining tooling and maintenance areas in a neat, clean, and organized fashion can help prevent potential accidents and injury by documenting potentially dangerous situations or hazards. These sorts of situations are best described using the following documents:
- Risk Assessment Form
- Dangerous Situation Report
- Safety Leading Indicator Form
- Root Cause Analysis Audit
Other Hazards Of Note
The final section allows for documentation of facility-specific hazards not yet covered by our facility inspection checklist. Following this is the section where the inspector will sign off on the safety audit and include the date/time of the inspection checklist completion.
How To Use The Facility Inspection Checklist
The Facility Inspection Checklist (FIC) is a safety audit form for businesses to audit their facility safety. The inspection frequency will depend upon your particular industry, but at minimum, it is recommended to perform the inspection monthly.
Specific industries may require by law that inspections are mandatory and regularly scheduled. Such industries include food production, pharmaceuticals, and medical manufacturers, to name a few.
The best methodology for facility inspection is a thorough and systematic inspection practice. Here are a few more tips to help aid you in the best practices of how to use the FIC:
- Perform your FIC at a regular frequency. Businesses that require daily or shift inspections mandated by local or federal laws need to abide by the regulations for consistency and frequency of inspection. This practice of systematic and pre-scheduled inspections allows businesses to seek and neutralize hazards in the workplace proactively.
- Perform random inspections. It’s a great idea to pre-plan facility inspections. However, random inspections are likely to be as or more effective in finding and documenting hazards. Random safety audits do not allow for employees to pre-plan their passing of the inspection. It allows you to ‘catch’ those who are not following company safety protocols.
- Review inspection results regularly for corrective action planning. It’s one thing to note a hazard in the workplace. It’s another to neutralize it. A planned regular review of facility inspection checklists ensures your safety audit program is effective by allowing for planning and management of corrective actions to neutralize hazards in your place of business.
- Include your staff. Staff is much more likely to participate in company safety when they are part of the inspection or safety decision-making process.
Benefits Of Facility Inspections
Aside from the obvious prevention of accidents, regular and systematic facility inspections and safety audits are several other benefits.
According to the Queen’s University of Charlotte study, nearly 3 in 4 employers rate teamwork and collaboration as ‘very important. (source)
Including your staff in parts of your facility inspection drives morale up, teamwork is supported, and employee inclusion in safety decision-making supports a sense that the organization cares for the safety of their staff and clients.
Depending on your industry, facility inspections may be legally mandated. In these cases, the benefit of a facility inspection is obvious – a way to mitigate liability and risk.
The most important and obvious benefit still outweighs any possible reason for not completing a facility inspection. To keep staff and clients safe will always be the most important result of a properly implemented facility inspection.
Five Of Our Top Tips For Facility Inspections
Facility Inspection Checklists do not intend to fix problems on the spot. Instead, the intent is to document issues, neutralize any immediate hazards, and suggest corrective action as a preventative measure.
With facilities of many types and descriptions, there are near an infinite number of possible scenarios where specific safety audits and results find a requirement. However, several things are uniformly recommended, despite the facility type. Here are a few of our tips for best practices and to aid in successful facility inspections.
- Customize Your Inspection To Your Facility.
Utilizing a generic facility inspection checklist, like that which we are providing you here, is wise. Customizing a facility safety audit template is even better.
Staff inspectors who use the same checklist daily may miss certain items if the list doesn’t mention them, and the inspector is expected to write in additional items each inspection.
Customizing your facility inspection checklist ensures that your facility-specific inspection requirements are met, and nothing is left to chance.
- Identify All Risks Using Methodical Inspection Methods.
One thing that some companies do is attempt to block items within their inspection based on a type of hazard method. The wise thing to do is to break down your inspection into crucial factors that make sense. For example, inspecting a facility by area and ensuring that area is thoroughly inspected before moving to the next area is one way the inspector can ensure nothing skips the checklist and all risks face documentation for corrective action.
- Neutralize And Document Immediate Threats.
When performing a facility inspection using an FIC, it is essential to note that your staff may find hazards that pose an immediate danger or threat.
Staff inspectors should have training on immediate threat neutralization within your facility. They should know where items’ locations are, such as caution tape, safety cones, and power shut-offs (and lock-outs). The inspector should have training on using such safety items and know-how to neutralize the hazards possible in your facility to prevent immediate danger.
- Revise Your Inspection Form With New Information.
The danger of using the same or a generic template for your safety audits and facility inspections lies with the problem of familiarity.
When inspectors use the same sheet repeatedly, they may become ‘comfortable’ with the checklist and skim over important points from familiarity and the assumption the ‘I just checked that last week.’ It happens much more than anyone would care to admit; we’re confident.
To prevent ‘form familiarity,’ it is wise to continuously update your facility inspection form with the latest information. For example, if a new piece of equipment finds its way into your facility, change your facility inspection checklist to reflect the equipment changes and train inspectors on said changes immediately.
- Rotate Inspectors, Not Inspections.
Planning your health and safety programs includes scheduling your facility inspections and safety audits.
When scheduling your facility inspections, a wise practice is to maintain more than one inspector within the staff your organization employs.
The reason behind having multiple inspectors is similar, if not the same, to the prevention of form familiarity. When an inspector has performed an inspection twice in a row, they are much more likely to skim over issues found on their second inspection. There is a strong likelihood an inspector will skip an item due to ‘just checking that item last inspection.’
Having a rotating schedule of inspectors ensures that no inspector skips items out of the knowledge that they just inspected the item on the last round.
Maintaining a regular schedule for your facility inspections is essential, so make sure you have that implemented, but use a rolling inspector schedule to maintain the highest standards of audits.
Facility Inspection Best Solutions For Progressive Hazard Prevention
Analyzing any facility inspection process and you will find some interesting, if not unexpected, truths. The first is that when inspections occur and paper documentation occurs, there are two or more things that could transpire to threaten the validity of your safety auditing processes:
- Document Loss – paper can be misplaced.
- Document Damage – water and other liquids can easily damage paper.
There are other detriments to a hard-copy protocol that can affect more than just your company’s internal safety program, but they can also hurt the bottom line. These include the following:
- Increased labor costs for filing paperwork
- Increased storage costs for maintaining filing systems for paperwork. It includes both cost of filing cabinets and other physical filing means and floor space within your facility to house the filing cabinets. With government tax collection requiring businesses to store documents for years, filing cabinets with years of paperwork can wind up taking up a lot of floor space better suited for making the company money instead of being an expense.
With these extra incurred costs in physical document storing, it is no wonder that so many businesses are turning to digital solutions like the 1st Incident Reporting App.
Our mobile application offers you all the customization your organization needs for facility inspection checklists, vehicle inspections, equipment safety audits, incident reporting, and much more.
Find out how to help your business stay organized and go digital for all your facility and site reporting needs.