A study from 2020 showed that 2.78 million employee deaths were attributed to occupational diseases or accidents. Therefore, organizations must improve workplace safety, which can be done through safety observations.

Safety observations allow businesses operating in the manufacturing and construction industry to assess probable risks at the job site or the workplace. Although trained professionals conduct these observations, software programs streamline the process. This article will discuss how an organization can conduct safety observations proficiently.

What Are Safety Observations?

A safety observation determines how many unsafe conditions are present within a work site during a specified period of time. It is meant to identify the tasks employees are performing safely and accurately and distinguish them from those with risk.

The primary purpose of these observations is so that corrective measures can then be implemented to improve the workplace’s safety. They can help predict the issues that can arise in the future and help prevent them efficiently. Usually, a manager has a checklist through which they record safety observations. They may have separate lists or sections for every safety topic. These observations can help:

  • Increase awareness regarding safety
  • Reduce worker injuries
  • Create a culture where employees speak up
  • Reinforce safe actions and behaviors
  • Detect and control exposure to risks

The Process of Creating and Implementing a Safety Observation Report

Safety observation is so important, as statistics show that over the years, it has helped lessen incidents and improve safety precautions. Creating a safety observation report and implementing it requires quite a straightforward process:

  1. Gather important information about a workplace’s safety standards
  2. Gather evidence through training records, physical evidence, and photographs
  3. Separate and categorize the factors that are contributing to the observations based on the following:
    • System
    • Human behavior
    • Design
    • Environment
  4. Investigate the sources that can potentially lead to safety risks
  5. Determine if you need corrective measures, and establish what is required
  6. Implement the corrective actions and monitor them.

5 Steps for Successfully Conducting a Safety Observation Program

When making safety observations and job analysis, there are five significant steps to take that can make the entire process a lot more cohesive:

Step 1: Inform Your Team

To observe a particular workplace setting or workers, you must inform the employees about why the organization is taking these initiatives. Remember that a safety observation program’s primary goal is helping create healthier workplace habits. So, to create a conducive environment, it’s essential to be transparent with everyone and let the teams know you’re observing them.

Step 2: Note

Once your employees are aware, supervisors can begin to observe workers perform their daily operations. Critical observations include:

  • The use of protective equipment
  • Obstruction to workplace equipment
  • Traffic in floor plan causing safety hazards
  • Unsanitary work conditions
  • Improper storage
  • Ergonomic breaches
  • Insufficient lighting

Step 3: Make Inquiries

When conducting an observation, it’s essential to determine if workers are taking the necessary precautions. Getting this fundamental insight can effectively change the behavior of employees and ensure that initiatives to improve safety are prioritized.

Some safety observations examples for the kind of questions you can ask are:

  • Is this the way you perform this task every single time?
  • What made you take this approach or perform this task in this way?
  • Do you feel that this method is safe?
  • Do you believe there may be a safer approach?
  • Did the initial training guide you to perform the task in this manner?

Step 4: Reinforce

Safety observations provide a good opportunity for you to point out which behaviors and actions are positive precisely. This process can help to emphasize further what employees are doing right so that you can ensure they keep working in the same way intended to prevent injury.

Moreover, organizations can further heighten workplace safety using EHS software. This software can allow all workers to report safety violations by submitting photos and other critical details. Once the observation is submitted, the relevant safety personnel in the organization will be alerted to take proper remediation measures. With this program, the direct supervisor can immediately offer a resolution.

Step 5: Express Concern

You must adequately convey your concerns when identifying risks when making safety observations and job analyses. However, while taking this step, use the right language. Instead of telling employees, they are unsafe or at risk, express your concern over their actions or the process. This will help develop trust among the team members and encourage them to get involved with optimizing workplace safety.

To Sum Up

Safety observations help a workplace prevent injuries and fatalities. Such measures improve efficiency, ensuring safety regulations and legislation are followed to protect the site and all workers. If you’d like to automate this process, then Safety Indicators can help you. You can learn more about optimizing safety by scheduling a demo. You can also contact us today for more information regarding how we can help improve health and safety at your workplace efficiently.

The Guide to Conducting Safety Observations