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Safety Checklists for General Industry

Quick Tips #113
Introduction

The most widely accepted means to identify workplace hazards is to conduct safety and health audits. One way to help understand a given situation is to look at it on a periodic basis. A survey conducted by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in the late 1990s revealed that self-audits are performed for a number of reasons, with the three most common being:

  • Careful inspections can reduce injury and illness rates within the workplace by identifying present hazards.
  • Staying on top of potential hazards is considered the right thing to do by many employers.
  • Performing self-audits and acting upon any findings help sustain compliance with OSHA regulations.

Routine self-audits are a cost-effective method of not only identifying safety hazards that need to be corrected, but also for helping ensure compliance with OSHA regulations. Costs associated with occupational safety and health hazards, beyond potential fines, can be reduced if hazards are corrected. Man-hours lost through workers’ compensation and sick leave can be reduced and productivity can remain high. Some insurance carriers in partnership with OSHA offer reduced premiums to employers who perform self-audits.

The most thorough means for performing a self-audit is to use a checklist for each work area. The size and diversity of the business dictates how many checklists are required and how much detail should be in each. While there is no standard checklist format, several key features should be included:

  • Name of auditor and date inspected
  • Description and specific regulatory citation for all pertinent regulations with a space to note deficiencies
  • A feasible completion date for deficiencies found
  • Initials and/or date when all corrections have been completed
Workplace Checklist

The following is an example of what a portion of a workplace OSHA checklist could look like for a flammable storage area. Appropriate components depend on individual situations.


INSPECTION REPORT FOR FLAMMABLE STORAGE AREA

Location:
Inspected By:
Date of Inspection:

(Circle all numbers with deficiencies)

Containers
  • Are approved containers and portable tanks used for the handling and storage of flammable and combustible liquids? 29 CFR 1910.106(d)(2)
  • Are all connections on drums and combustible flammable liquid piping vapor and liquid tight? 29 CFR 1910.106(c)(3)
  • Are all flammable liquids kept in closed containers when not in use? 29 CFR 1910.106(e)(2)(iv)(a)
  • Are bulk drums of flammable liquids grounded and bonded to containers during dispensing? 29 CFR 1910.106(e)(6)(ii)
  • Are safety cans used for dispensing flammable or combustible liquids? 29 CFR 1910.106(d)(5)(iii)
  • Are storage tanks adequately vented to prevent the development of excessive vacuum or pressure as a result of filling, emptying or atmosphere temperature changes? 29 CFR 1910.106(b)(4)(ii)
  • Are portable tanks equipped with emergency venting to relieve internal pressure from exposure to fire? 29 CFR 1910.106(d)(2)(ii)
  • Are storage cabinets that store flammable liquids labeled “Flammable, Keep Fire Away”? 29 CFR 1910.106(d)(3)(ii)
  • Are flammable liquids stored in approved safety cans? 29 CFR 1910.106(d)(2); 29 CFR 1910.144(a)(1)
  • Are no smoking rules enforced in areas for storage and use of hazardous materials? 29 CFR 1910.106(e)(9)
Fire Extinguishers
  • Are appropriate fire extinguishers mounted, located and identified so that they are readily accessible to employees? 29 CFR 1910.157(c)(1)
  • Are all fire extinguishers inspected and recharged regularly, and marked on inspection tags? 29 CFR 1910.157(e)
  • Is there an adequate number of portable fire extinguishers and of the proper type? 29 CFR 1910.157(d)
  • For a fixed extinguishing system, is a sign posted warning of the hazards presented by the extinguishing medium? 29 CFR 1910.160(b)(5)
Exits
  • Are exits properly marked? 29 CFR 1910.37(q)
  • Do exit signs have an illumination of at least 5 foot-candles? 29 CFR 1910.37(q)(6)
  • Are exits maintained free of obstructions? 29 CFR 1910.36(d)(1)

Correction completion date:
Corrections have been completed (initials and date):
Supervisor:
Date:


Below are two lists. The first highlights major General Industry regulations that are relevant to most work areas. The second lists standards that require a written plan or program to be in place when applicable. These lists may not be all-inclusive and may not apply to all work areas.

Work Areas

All work areas should be identified. Within these locations, consider the applicability of each section of the OSHA standards from Title 29 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR):

Record Keeping

In addition to a work area checklist, written programs, plans and procedures are often required by OSHA. The following standards require a written plan or program to be in place where applicable:

Emergency Action Plan 1910.38
Process Safety Management of Highly Hazardous Chemicals 1910.119
Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response 1910.120
Respiratory Protection 1910.134
Permit-Required Confined Spaces 1910.146
The Control of Hazardous Energy (Lockout/Tagout) 1910.147
Employee Alarm Systems 1910.165
Powered Industrial Trucks  1910.178
Electric Power Generation, Transmission and Distribution 1910.269
Electrical Safety-Related Work Practices 1910.333
Subpart Z: Specific Chemical Substances 1910.1000 to 1910.1018, 1910.1025 to 1910.1029 and 1910.1043 to 1910.1096
Bloodborne Pathogens  1910.1030
Hazard Communication 1910.1200
Occupational Exposure to Hazardous Chemicals in Laboratories 1910.1450
Posting Job Safety and Health Poster Form 3165
OSHA Forms for Recording Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses 300 Log

Creating and maintaining a checklist for General Industry operations is by no means the final step. When beginning a safety audit program, several ideas should be kept in mind. A team approach to safety is most effective; rotating people on and off the team will keep ideas fresh and enhance perspective. Inspect thoroughly and frequently; any area, regardless of size, can pose hazards that can crop up seemingly overnight. Once hazards are identified, have a system in place for correction.

Commonly Asked Questions
Q: Are self-inspections necessary? A: Yes. Self-inspections are essential. The only way to be certain of an actual situation is to look at it directly from time to time. Businesses must know where probable hazards exist and whether they are under control.


Sources

29 CFR 1910

OSHA Small Business Handbook / Small Business Safety and Health Management Series / OSHA 2209-02R 2005

(Rev. 4/2015)


Find even more information you can use to help make informed decisions about the regulatory issues you face in your workplace every day. View all Quick Tips Technical Resources at www.grainger.com/quicktips.

Think Safety. Think Grainger.®
Grainger has the products, services and resources to help keep employees safe and healthy while operating safer facilities. You’ll also find a network of safety resources that help you stay in compliance and protect employees from hazardous situations. Count on Grainger for lockout tagout, fall protection equipment, confined space products, safety signs, personal protective equipment (PPE), emergency response and so much more!

Please Note:
The content in this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only. This publication is not a substitute for review of the applicable government regulations and standards, and should not be construed as legal advice or opinion. Readers with specific compliance questions should refer to the cited regulation or consult with an attorney.


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