One of the first steps to a safer working environment is to provide safe equipment for your employees to use. In addition to a good preventative maintenance program you need to implement a good daily inspection program to ensure that safety. To consistently deliver a well-constructed inspection program, it is important to have a documented plan to so as follows:
‘OSHA requires that all forklifts be examined at least daily before being placed in service. Forklifts used on a round-the-clock basis must be examined before each shift. [29 CFR 1910.178(q)(7)]’
- Set the standard: While OSHA does provide a set of guidelines for inspecting your equipment, it is very important that you use this guideline to create a companywide standard that is specific to your unique working environment. Work with your JHSC to determine what the safe standard is for every safety question asked and for each type of equipment. Each inspection question you should provide guidance on the follow:
- What and where should they inspect? For example: indicate the areas that they need to look for leaks, damage, wear etc.
- When should they perform this inspection? For example: Start of every shift.
- What condition(s) are considered safe? Give examples of what a safe condition is.
- What condition(s) are not considered safe? Give examples of when to call attention to an unsafe issue.
- Make your employees part of the solution: Once you have determined the specific standards for each type of equipment, you need to train your employees on your expectations for these standards.
- Instruct your employees on how to do the inspections?
- When should they pass or fail a question?
- What should they do after a question is failed?
- Let them clearly know that it is their responsibility to point out anything that is unsafe on the equipment BEFORE it is put into operation.
- It is the company’s responsibility to keep the equipment in safe operating condition, and have it restored to a safe condition if not.
OSHA: If at any time a powered industrial truck is found to be in need of repair, defective, or in any way unsafe, the truck shall be taken out of service until it has been restored to safe operating condition. [1910.178(p)(1)] Any power-operated industrial truck not in safe operating condition shall be removed from service. All repairs shall be made by authorized personnel. [1910.178(q)(1)]
3. Consistency is key: An effective inspection program is only as good as the frequency and quality of the inspections being completed. An inspection log book is a good way to have consistent roadmap for inspecting, but to ensure that the inspections are being completed every time you cannot beat a good telemetric device like Start-Manager’s SM301 devices. They can be programmed so that the vehicle or equipment cannot be started until the inspection is completed at the start of each shift. And in the event of a failed safety question, a feature that requires a supervisor to inspect before starting ensures that only safe equipment is being put into service.
4. Track your records and prioritize: It is important that you not only track the fact that you have completed your checks, you need to have a record of all the exceptions (failed safety questions) and what steps were taken to restore your equipment to a safe operating condition. It is good practice to track the following:
- What was the reason for the exception (for example: damage/leak/wear)?
- What are the next steps?
- Lower priority: Put back in service and monitor the condition to ensure it doesn’t become more severe? For example: Mild damage like dents, scratches, scrapes, etc.
- Medium priority: Schedule a repair and put back into service? For example: Mild tire wear, scratched hydraulic cylinder, small leaks, etc.
- High priority: Schedule a repair and take out of service? For example: Anything that immediately affects safety like, severe leaks, broken safety device, severe damage, etc.
- What are the next steps?
Utilizing a tool like Start-Manager’s intuitive web portal with the SM301 units allows a company to pull reports on demand or automatically have them sent to your inbox. In addition with the optional ‘exceptions tracking’ feature, you can track when you have exceptions to deal with and have any detailed outcome included in your reports.
5. Management buy-in: While it might seem silly to say, implementing any program at this level is doomed to fail if it is not supported by management, especially at the supervisor level. If proper support, follow-up and
- Give feedback to your employees
- Provide proper follow-up
- Train often with clear expectations
- Safety is everyone’s responsibility
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