Operators of machinery or vehicles are expected to check them over to make sure they are in safe running order before they go to work. They use a checklist to inspect the important components of their equipment, one at a time.
In the same way, you should go through a checklist about yourself every once in a while, to make sure you are in “safe running order” to handle the job at hand.
The following checklist applies to workers in just about every field:
- Have you received safety training for the job you do? Do you ask questions if you are in doubt?
- Do you inspect your work area and your machinery or tools before you start work?
- Do you wear the correct Personal Protective Equipment for each aspect of your job? Have you been trained in the correct way to select, fit, maintain, inspect and use your PPE?
- Do you know where to find a fire extinguisher near your workstation? Do you know how to use it and which kind to use on various types of fires?
- Do you know how to report a fire in your work area? Do you make correct use of guards on machinery and tools? Do you understand the consequences of tampering with them or removing them?
- Do you practice good housekeeping by keeping your work area clean and orderly, free of scraps, spills and other hazards? Do you put your tools away after you use them?
- Do you understand the lockout/tagout procedures for equipment in your work area? This would also include isolating energy sources such as electricity, steam, hydraulics or compressed air.
- Are you aware of hazardous chemicals and gases that you work with or which you may encounter? Do you know how to protect yourself against them?
- Do you know how to find and use safety showers and eyewash stations?
- Do you understand the dangers of entering a confined space?
- Do you know how to avoid repetitive stress injuries?
- Do you know how to lift safely and protect your back?
- Do you avoid slips and falls by eliminating hazards and wearing safe footwear?
- Do you drive defensively and always wear your seatbelt?
- Do you understand the consequences of drugs or alcohol use?
- Do you keep yourself physically and mentally fit – and healthy – so that you will be able to work safely?
Hopefully you answered “yes” to all of the questions, but if you answered “no,” think of ways you can improve your safety checklist score. Everyone’s behavior has a direct affect on safety.