Short, Focused, & Meaningful Safety Inspections Strengthen Safety Programs!

Short, Focused, & Meaningful Safety Inspections Strengthen Safety Programs!

The goal of every safety management system should always be continuous improvement. We have all been doing site, quality control and equipment inspections for ages. Sometimes our inspection program achieves the desired goal. Sometimes it feels like we are standing still…. Incidents keep reoccurring  and repairs are not completed. So how do we ensure that our inspection hit the mark? How can we be sure that our inspections are a strong link in our Safety Program?

There are three areas that strengthen the success of inspections. 

  • The content of the inspection form 
  • The consistent scheduling of regular inspections. 
  • Following up with the corrective actions.

We want each step in the inspection process to be comprehensive and user-friendly. If one is missing or incomplete it affects the others. Look at your inspection as a three-part cycle. 

The biggest obstacle in this cycle is the inspection form which is top-heavy with detail and content. Essentially, looking at everything but not really looking at anything! 

Make sure the size of the inspection form isn’t so daunting that it is just “pencil whipped” or never completed. Short, focused and meaningful is the KEY! 

Safety Tip #1 - Reduce Incidents By Decluttering Safety Inspections

We have all thought, “who wrote this thing?” when looking at a workplace inspection!

How are we supposed to check the 300 items listed on our 10-page inspection document?

I remember thinking this on multiple management walk-throughs. 

Starting the management inspection with a 15-minute meeting just so everyone can hear all the items that they need to look for on the inspection is not an effective way to work. 

By the time the inspection starts half the things you need to look for have been forgotten. 

In the end, your inspection just turns into a hazard hunt.

This is followed by a debrief meeting where another 20-30 minutes is spent writing down all the different hazards people found. 

The same goes for having a long list of items you can systematically move through for a piece of equipment. It is a great idea but it doesn't work very well when you are walking through a site 

So how can your team create a meaningful and efficient safety inspection program that will protect your workers and grow your safety culture? 


Separate your lengthy site inspections ( shop, office, yard, job site, etc) and break out forms for each area of concern. Will you be addressing fire safety, ergonomics, traffic flow, stair and entrance safety, etc? Build shorter, more focused inspections to be done frequently. 

In this case, bigger is NOT better! 

“Declutter” your light vehicle and other equipment inspections to make them more user-friendly. (And user-friendly = user completion!)

Rework your equipment inspections so that the worker completing the inspection can fill out each section in easy succession. Reduce the size of your checklists by grouping operating systems, required documents or safety supplies.

Watch this video to learn how to create short, focused, and meaningful inspections that will give your company the results you need. 


Safety Tip #2 - Use A Focused Safety Inspection System - Short, Regular, Consistent

Remember the goal of continuous improvement! In an earlier blog How to Development Equipment Inspections in 5 Easy Steps!, we looked at the steps below and how each step was important to the inspection process.

  1. Manufactures recommendations
  2. Frequency
  3. Who is the Inspector
  4. Keep them simple
  5. Corrective Action system

Now let's think about Focus! How to get it and how to keep it during an inspection. Here are the KEYS! 

Short Safety Inspections:

  • Build yours safety inspection forms around your challenges. 
  • What are you looking at today? And why?
  • Make them specific to your business
  • Capture the details so that your team will know what they are looking for. Highlight the ten to fifteen things that are important
  • Keep it short. If you print it, the form should fit on a single piece of paper.

Regular Safety Inspections:

  • When we set out inspection schedules randomly or have long periods of time between our inspections, lots can happen, lots can change and lots can be missed. 
  • Conduct regular and frequent inspections. Do it once a week. Do it in 15 minutes.
  • Set up a schedule and KEEP to it! 
  • Workers become connected and more safety aware. Incidents and injuries decrease!!! 

Consistent Inspections: 

  • Do it the same every time
  • Get everyone into that rhythm and habit
  • The benefit and results will be easy for workers and management to see

Safety Tip #3 - Implement Corrective Action Follow-Up For Safety Inspections

Once you have your focused inspection program running the next step is to manage the corrective actions. 

  • Discuss the outcome of the inspection with your team and the workers on site. Encourage input when developing the corrective actions. Draw from the resource of your experienced workers. 
  • Assign the corrective actions and set a time frame for completion. 
  • Follow up at the set time to ensure accountability. 
  • Review the completed corrective actions with your workers in toolbox or safety meetings. 

This is extremely time-consuming when you have to update excel spreadsheets, send emails, and track proof of completion. It is doable, but lots of work. 


Safety Tip #4 - How Safety Software Can Help With Safety Inspections

At Safety Evolution, we are all about removing your “Pain Point” and ensuring that your inspection cycle works seamlessly. 

Most inspection programs struggle with corrective action follow-up.

The next challenge is ensuring that the inspections have been completed when they are supposed to. 

You are consistently chasing team members to make sure that the inspection has been completed.

When we built the Safety Evolution software we had to deal with the same things and we spent a long time designing how Safety Professionals would want to solve these frustrations. 

Jump on our Demo on Demand to see how easy inspections, action items, and scheduling these activities can be. 

Watch Demo On Demand!

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