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How To Use Safety Walks To Reduce Injuries

Safety in the workplace has been getting increasing attention in recent years. Despite this, the number of workplace injuries shows no signs of coming down. In fact, they have increased.

A safety walk is an often-overlooked process that can identify potential risks, hazards and threats. As such, it’s a valuable tool for preventing injuries and accidents from occurring in the workplace.

What is a Safety Walk?

 

A safety walk is different to a safety inspection or safety audit. Safety inspections and audits are usually focused on the safety of the tools and procedures used in an organisation, when safety walks focus on how individuals in the organisation use and implement those tools and procedures in practice.

Safety walks are often performed by an employee in a managerial position, who will engage other employees to the topic. This allows the person conducting the walk to get input from the other employees about the safety practices. It also allows this person to ensure all employees fully understand and adhere to all relevant safety procedures.

 

Identify Potential Risks, Hazards and Threats

 

Safety walks are a type of informal inspection. As such, they enable organisations to identify any potential problems or risks around the workplace.

For example, they can reveal any unsafe everyday practices that could accumulate over time and cause a major safety problem. This enables organisations to take action faster and resolve any risks and hazards before they cause costly incidents.

 

Prevent Injuries and Accidents From Occurring

 

A safety walk helps prevent injuries and accidents in two ways:

  1. It helps to identify potential risks, hazards and threats so that organisations can address them efficiently and mitigate the risks.
  2. It helps organisations to put safety procedures in place for any identified risks. This further decreases the chances of injuries and accidents arising from these problems.

Should an injury occur, safety walks can help ensure a similar accident doesn’t happen again in the future. This is because organisations can learn from their experiences and adjust what to look out for in the safety walks.

 

Improve Knowledge of Safety Procedures

 

A business might have incredibly sophisticated safety measures. However, these may be ineffective because they are not followed accordingly.

Safety walk gives an opportunity to gauge employees’ level of understanding of the topic. When conducting a safety walk, you should remember to ask employees questions that highlight the most likely causes of safety failures.

The difference between the safety strategies and actual practices may vary. Your employees’ level of knowledge may be lacking to the point that you may need to organise an additional training event. Or your employees might simply have a few small gaps in their knowledge. Should it be the latter, a safety walk is a perfect opportunity to take some time to fill in these gaps.

 

Final Thoughts

 

With safety mechanisms like safety audits and inspections in place, it can be easy to forget about other safety procedures - like safety walks. However, effective safety walks are an easy way to identify any potential risks, hazards and threats and prevent injuries and accidents from occurring in the workplace.

If your organisation is looking for a tool to manage and conduct safety walks, audits and inspections, have a look at audits.io. It involves your staff in the organisation of safety matters on a periodic basis, creates clarity on non-conformities, helps to prevent and decrease the amount of injuries in the workplace, and provides you with actionable data.  

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Safety Management Continuous Auditing Management Systems Involvement

Arttu Vesterinen

Chief Executive Officer