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Check please. List helps walkthroughs
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Use a checklist that is unique to your work environment when doing safety walkthroughs, advises Rod R. Hart, RN, COHN, manager of health promotion and wellness at ODS Health, a Portland, OR-based provider of health plans.
"This is extremely useful in documenting and demonstrating workplace hazards," says Hart.
It is important to base the checklist on your individual workplace, stresses Christine M. Kalina, MBA, MS, RN, FAAOHN, COHN-S/CM, director of global occupational health at MedImmune, a Gaithersburg, MD-based developer of formulations for use in immunization products. "A manufacturing environment is different from an office environment," she says. "Understand your industry thoroughly."
After using the checklist, Kalina says to keep a record of them. "Track whether there are any changes from week to week," she says.
New set of eyes
Safety walkthroughs are conducted every month at SAIF Corporation, a Salem, OR-based workers' compensation company with over 800 employees, at each of the company's six sites, reports Linda Meuleveld, RN, COHN-S, CCM, OH, consultant and trainer.
"They are done by members of the safety committee and the facilities manager," she says. "We alternate our participation. It is always good to have a new set of eyes on the safety walkthrough."
Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Administration
As an advisor to the safety committee, Meuleveld has participated in many walkthroughs. "We check every aspect of the organization," she says. The walkthroughs are based on checklists provided by Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Administration, adds Mueleveld.
"There is a formal walkthrough form that is used and submitted to the safety committee," adds Meuleveld. "It notes the area of concern, and asks for comments."
Next, says Meuleveld, the safety committee discusses the areas of concern. This discussion sometimes leads to safety recommendations, she says, such as posting a monthly safety tip online that reminds employees that daisy chaining electrical cords is an unsafe practice.
"Safety committees benefit from the expertise provided by occupational health," she says. "Consider joining one. Become another voice for safety in your organization."
(Editor's note: For access the OR-OSHA checklists used by the SAIF Corporation go to: http://www.cbs.state.or.us/external/osha/standards/checklists.html.)
Linda Meuleveld, RN, COHN-S, CCM, OH Consultant and Trainer, SAIF Corporation, Salem, OR. Phone: (503) 373-8237. Fax: (503) 584.8237. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.