Published 02/04/2024

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.

Safety observations are important in the workplace because they help to identify any potential hazards or unsafe practices before an incident or injury occurs. They also provide the opportunity to address any unsafe conditions or practices and ensure that all employees are following safety protocols. Safety observations can help to identify gaps in safety training and can help to ensure that safety is a top priority for everyone in the workplace.

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Uses of a Safety Observation

Many businesses are recognizing the importance of enabling staff to conduct safety observations in the workplace. Having a system that can allow employees to quickly identify any potential issues or hazards on the job is essential for workplace safety and compliance. With so much potential for disaster, taking simple precautionary steps such as providing employees with the ability to observe conditions and provide feedback related to safety can go a long way towards keeping worksites safe.

The ability to prompt action from employees when required makes it easier to ensure that hazards are detected early and reported before they can become serious risks. Staff members have an intimate understanding of the work environment, making them ideal candidates for carrying out inspections on behalf of management. Furthermore, having an engaged workforce increases morale, productivity and efficiency which will further improve your business operations in the long run.

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.

In a workplace, if a safety observation is observed, it should be reported to the appropriate person or department as soon as possible. This helps to ensure that any potential safety hazards are addressed quickly and appropriately.

Having a safety observation tool in place helps create a reporting culture across your workforce. Even if its just a general observation, not an incident, not a near miss, the small things someone reports could help prevent the bigger things from happening later on.

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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.

3: Checklist

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.

4: Observations

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.

5: Conversation

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.

6: Recording

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.

7: Report

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.

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Safety Observation Registry

Today, more than ever, it is important to ensure safety in the workplace. Having a registry of safety observation reports is essential to help identify and mitigate risks before they occur. By setting up a secure system for reporting observations, you can make sure that any issues or mishaps with safety equipment are accounted for and dealt with quickly. If everyone does their part keeping an eye out and following protocols correctly, then the overall safety of the workspace can be greatly improved.

Creating a clear plan on how often workers should be kept informed about any changes made in processes or regulations by providing them access to the registry can also improve individual awareness around risk prevention methods. Continuous training particular topics such as personal protective equipment standards or best practice incident response methods should also support employees commitment to working safely at all times; ultimately leading them to consistently report their own personal daily observations in detail while using this type of system.

Setting up a registry of safety observation reports may seem intimidating but if done right can help alleviate immediate tension within your organization when accidents arise due in most cases lack of information sharing regarding possible risk related activity inside specific workspace areas. Encouraging honest interaction among coworkers through having access policies like those mentioned above allow teams collaborate better increasing overall trust levels between staff members significantly focusing people's energy towards productive tasks instead waiting for negative experiences .


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