So, You Think You Have a Safety Program?

In case you have any doubts, use this checklist as a starting point to evaluate your program and customize your own list.

Do you have an assigned person responsible for your safety program?

  • Is safety his/her only responsibility? If not, which responsibility is he/she evaluated on?
  • What is their status in the organization?
  • Do they report to upper management?
  • Do they have management's ear?
  • Is his/her word the law when it comes to safety?

Do you have a written Safety Program?

  • Does it contain procedures, safety rules, and policies?
  • Does it provide "how to" guidance on all matters of safety?
  • How many elements does it contain? 30? 40? More?
  • Is it available to all workers or just filed away?
  • Are appropriate warning signs posted?
  • Do you publicize safety performance on bulletin boards?

Are employees trained effectively on mandatory elements?

  • Hearing Conservation
  • Bloodborne Pathogens
  • Respiratory Protection
  • Personal Protective Equipment
  • Material Handling
  • Fire extinguishers
  • Hazard Communication
  • Defibrillators

Do you have qualified trainers?

Are employees authorized to perform certain critical functions (PIT; LoTo; Confined Space)?

Is there a Job Hazard Analysis for each job?

Are supervisors knowledgeable in safety and trained to recognize unsafe behaviors?

  • Do they mentor anyone found to be lacking?
  • Toolbox talks?
  • Discipline?

Do you have Safety Committees?

  • Central Safety Committee with management and wide representation from workforce?
  • Department Safety Committees? Toolbox talks, Morning Huddle?
  • Are minutes of meetings distributed/posted?
  • Are actions taken to address issues?

Is there a budget for PPE and safety training?

Is there a strong safety culture? Do employees buy into safety?

Is there a process for reporting accidents, incidents, and near misses?

Do you conduct accident investigations on accidents, incidents, and near misses?

  • Are root causes identified?
  • Are corrective actions put into place?
  • Are issues resolved?

Are routine safety inspections conducted?

  • Who conducts them?
  • Are findings disseminated?
  • Are findings addressed? How are items resolved?

Is there a safety incentive program?

  • Are incentives based on positives, rather than lack of reported incidents?
  • Is there any fear of reporting accidents?

Is there a Management of Change process?

  • How are changes disseminated and implemented?

Are Lockout/Tagout procedures posted on all machines?

  • Are there Authorized Employees to perform LoTo procedures?
  • Do Affected Employees understand what LoTo tags mean?
  • Do you have a sufficient supply of LoTo devices to handle all situations?

Are all machines appropriately guarded?

  • Barriers; interlocks; light curtains; proximity sensors; foot pads
  • Do employees know not to bypass guards?
  • Is there a copy of the OSHA regulations in the facility?

Are evacuation drills conducted?

  • Are evacuation paps posted?
  • Evacuation paths clearly marked?
  • Are drills coordinated with assistance from local emergency responders?
  • Are there assigned gathering points? Clearly marked? Signs to direct people to gathering points?
  • Assigned Evacuation Monitors?
  • What procedure is used to account for all employees, contractors, and guests following an evacuation?

Is there a Contractor Safety Management program in effect?

  • Is there mutual understanding of each other's procedures and responsibilities?
  • Do you conduct contractor safety briefings?

Is Hazard Communication training up to date?

  • Are all containers labeled?

Is there a fire safety program in effect?

  • Is there a alarm system in place? Do employees understand what each type of alarm means and what to do?
  • Are flammables stored appropriately?
  • Is there a fire suppression system in place?
  • Is it inspected regularly by a service organization?
  • Are fire extinguishers inspected weekly and serviced annually?
  • Are fire extinguishers appropriate to the fire potential?
  • Are employees trained in the use of fire extinguishers, or, instructed to evacuate?
  • Are there fire hoses attached to standpipes? Are employees trained to use, or are they for fire dept. use only?

What is the organization's Lost Workday Incident Rate (LWDI)?

  • What is the organization's SIC/NAICS code?
  • How does the LWDI compare to organization’s SIC/NAICS rate?
  • What is the Severity Rate?
  • Are these data posted?

Is the organization's safety program audited?

  • Internally or externally?


  • Is the 300A Log posted from February 1 to April 30 each year?
  • Are 300 Logs on file for past five years?
  • Is current year's 300 Log up to date? Entries made within five days of learning of an incident?
  • Is a 301 completed for each 300 Log entry?
  • Is the organization required to electronically report?

Are new employees provided a safety orientation?

  • Are new employees provided a mentor?

What are the organization's main causes of accidents?

  • Are safety efforts based on number of accidents or severity?

Emergency response

  • What is the internal reporting system?
  • How are outside resources notified?
  • What is the relationship with local responders?
  • Is there a relationship with a local medical facility?Are there trained first aiders on site?
  • How are injured personnel transported?

Are there eyewash/body wash stations?

  • Sufficient number based on risks?
  • Installed per code?
  • Inspected per code?
  • Proper signage?
  • Unobstructed access?
  • Do employees know how to use them?

How is PPE selected?

  • Based on hazard assessment?
  • Employee input?
  • Do employees have choices regarding fit, comfort, and style?
  • Is training provided when required (Hearing Conservation; Respiratory Protection; etc.)

What procedures are to be followed in the event of an OSHA inspection?

  • Who receives the OSHA inspector?
  • Who is to be notified?
  • Who participates in an OSHA inspection?
  • What needs to be done if citations are issued?

Joseph J. Werbicki holds a Master's Degree in Chemistry from Northeastern University and a Bachelor's Degree in Chemistry from Brown University. He is a Safety Consultant/Trainer, having retired as Manager of Safety Compliance for a multi-national government contractor. He served as Chairman of the Board for the Massachusetts Safety Council, and as President of the Safety Association of Rhode Island. His papers have appeared in EHS Today, Occupational Safety & Health, and newsletters of the Boston, Springfield (MA), and the Worcester/Green Mountain ASSE chapters. He is the author of a comprehensive workplace safety training program, "Safety - From Core to Edge". He can be reached at [email protected].

Posted on Sep 06, 2018

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