WHAT IS A SAFETY OBSERVATION?
Employees are the most valued assets in any organization, and their safety matters a lot towards the organization's growth. On the shop floor, employees strive to meet quotas and remain productive individually or in teams. Employees deserve attention while executing their duties, and all goal-oriented organizations strive to ensure employees are safe and sound.
What is seen on the shop floor is the safety observation. Well, what is safety observation? A safety observation is recording employees' behaviors on the shop floor. It determines the number of safe and unsafe work conditions in a particular department within a given time. The tasks that employees perform excellently and those not competent contribute to safety observation.
Uses of safety observation
A safety observation is critical to a workplace when it comes to:
- Identification and elimination of risk exposures
- Reinforcement of safety behaviors
- Driving a speak-up culture
- Reducing employees' accidents
- Implementing safety measures
- Creating awareness of the importance of a safe workplace.
Components of safety observation
Generally, a safe observation in any particular organization should consist of the following elements;
1. Allocate the duty
Carrying out safety observation in a workplace demands a high level of safety skills. When assigning the observation duty, someone with etiquette, discipline, observation skills, and work independently is worth the duty. Mostly, the duty goes to the safety manager or a higher-level supervisor trained on health and safety.
2. Schedule time
Whoever the duty has been assigned determines the suitable time for conducting the safety observation. Depending on the size of the employees and the nature of the workplace, the safety manager or the supervisor schedules the time best for conducting the safety observation. The time scheduled should be when the employees are actively engaged in their duties. The safety observation can take several hours, depending on the work being done. Some tasks are executed in phases and sometimes may take half a day observing.
Safety observation is a systematic process that follows an organized checklist. The checklist is designed depending on the nature of the task being observed. Since observation involves both safe and unsafe behaviors, the checklist should contain all possible conditions in that particular task. An example is a checklist for observing machine usage. The checklist designed for this particular task should include; oil spillage, processing speed, machine handling, movement, etc.
The person or team conducting the safe observation watch employees executing their duties. To collect unbiased data, the observer should ensure that employees do not realize that someone is watching them, so it should be done from a distance.
When the need is, the observer engages the employees and informs them about safety matters noticed. They engage in a free conversation to create awareness of the importance of staying safe in the workplace.
The safety manager or supervisor fills the checklist as observed in the field. Safety observation is a continuous process that is conducted regularly when the need be. The checklists need to be preserved to implement health and safety measures in the workplace, create awareness on the importance of staying safe, and design a safety protocol.
When the data has been collected and presented to the management, it analyses the data, sorts it depending on the safety issues recorded, and generates a report. The report is generated using safety management software for accuracy, efficiency, and effectiveness. The software ensures faster data entry and easy retrieval of records. The programs are convenient since they are accessible from a mobile device.
8. Follow up
When the report has been generated and awareness created, the management should evaluate whether the employees have implemented the safety protocols.
A safety observation is a critical component in every workplace that values employees' health and safety. Both positive and negative observations should be recorded when collecting safety data and factored in when generating the report. In today's world, machines are mainly used t execute tasks, so there is a need for every organization to implement a safety observation.