Todd Jerome Jenkins, MS, CSP, SMS, CHST, STSC

Safety Aficionado & Ph.D. Student

Weekly Safety Topic – Safety Checklists

Safety Checklists

Checklists are used in many industries to ensure safety and efficiency. Racing teams use checklists before the start of races to check that everything is in order. So that they know they have all the equipment they may need, firefighters and paramedics use checklists at the start of their shift. NASA astronauts and commercial pilots also use checklists before take-offs and landings. All branches of the military use checklists for various systems. Let’s look at how we can use a checklist to make our work more efficient by having the right tool when needed and ensuring everything is in place before we start.

A lot is going on – on a job site, everyone has a lot to do, and it isn’t always possible to remember every step of every task. As we rush from one task to another, a checklist keeps us from overlooking or forgetting any critical steps that could cause safety issues. Checklists provide an itemized, comprehensive reminder of what you need to do to be safe and efficient.

Have you ever been part of a crane operation? A checklist is often used at mobilization so that all interested parties receive information regarding the lift, including ground condition, location of powerlines, and swing radius. Checklists are also used for all the required inspections, rigging, daily crane, maintenance, and annual inspections.

Manufacturers create safety inspection checklists for heavy machinery such as forklifts and backhoes. In addition, there are lockout/tagout checklists specific to certain types of equipment. There are many opportunities to incorporate safety checklists into routine tasks. Observing or forgetting some hazards is easy because you frequently perform them. When you use checklists, follow them carefully; don’t skip a step or go by memory when you use them. These checklists can be vital in keeping you safe, so follow them carefully.

Some everyday items you may see on a checklist include:

  1. All openings in floors and walls are guarded.
  2. Scrap materials on the floor go into the trash.
  3. Cords and hoses are taped down, under cord covers, or hung up so they are out of the way.
  4. All work areas, walkways, and passageways are sufficiently lit.
  5. Spills are cleaned up promptly.
  6. Wet areas are marked, cleaned up, or covered.
  7. Stairs and ladders are clear, clean, and not blocked.

What are some checklists we use to help us work safer?


Audits and Inspections Quiz

1 / 12

It is possible to inspect machinery, equipment, and work practices during an inspection.

2 / 12

Earplugs and protective ear covers are adequate administrative controls that minimize noise hazards.

3 / 12

General inspections are conducted in response to complaints or incidents.

4 / 12

Substituting a less hazardous material in a process is an example of the hierarchy of controls.

5 / 12

Chemical processing areas are not considered to be high-risk.

6 / 12

Depending on the regulation, inspection checklists may have to be tailored to meet OSHA, MSHA, or EPA requirements.

7 / 12

During a safety inspection, one or more work areas are checked for safety conditions and behaviors.

8 / 12

Inspection frequencies vary according to the type of inspection.

9 / 12

Whenever it will take a long time to correct a hazard, limit exposure to reduce the potential for harm.

10 / 12

Immediately report any additional hazards to the appropriate person when conducting follow-up inspections.

11 / 12

A safety inspection and safety audit are the same things.

12 / 12

It takes time to conduct a safety and health assessment.

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