Safety Walk: Definition, Process, and Best Practices

Jack Lyons Account Executive
Last Updated

In industries marked by strict regulations, a safety walk is a valuable tool for instilling and reinforcing health and safety best practices across teams and locations.

From this article, you’ll learn a definition of safety walk down, underscore its significance, and explore the ways in which safety management software can amplify its impact on your workplace safety.

What Is a Safety Walk?

A safety walk, also referred to as a safety walkaround, is a process where managers, supervisors, or safety professionals tour a workplace to identify potential hazards, assess safety measures, and engage with workers to create a culture of safety.

It’s an opportunity to see equipment in action, note the environment safety, and get employee input.

A walkthrough is less formal than an audit or inspection. Safety walkarounds are more in-the-moment procedures, allowing you to observe safety in action and immediately take corrective measures.

Safety Walkthrough Steps

Typically, a walkthrough includes pre-inspection preparation, on-site inspection, and post-inspection wrap-up.

Pre-Inspection Preparation

A safety walkthrough starts with examining past inspection reports and injury records. This step familiarizes you with critical safety issues. It also allows to ensure that staff have taken corrective action on past incidents.

A good practice is to talk to the safety committee, managers, and supervisors, getting their input on primary concerns and best practices.

Prepare a checklist (or other related form of the essential health and safety documentation) for your safety walk that can be accessed from a mobile device. List key areas, such as employee safety training, materials handling, and equipment maintenance.

Your checklist is a tool to ensure you cover safety items methodically and efficiently, so make sure it includes all the hazards pertinent to your workplace.

Read more: Read more: Paper vs. digital: why it’s more secure to manage your safety documentation with software

On-Site Inspection

Keep in mind that It’s important to wear the personal protective equipment (PPE) required for the area. Ensure it fits well and you use it correctly. Proper PPE keeps you safe and demonstrates your commitment to improving workplace safety.

When doing an inspection, look for easy-to-spot hazards, such as:

  • Blocked exits
  • Tripping hazards, including trash and items on the floor
  • Poorly maintained equipment
  • Inadequate lighting
  • Exposed wiring

Damaged floors, walls, and doors may also indicate a safety hazard, such as equipment operating in a tight space or without adequate employee training.

Observe staff members as they work. Do they use awkward lifting motions or conduct repetitive tasks? Does the workplace expose them to hazardous chemicals or high noise levels? Help them correct problems on the spot if you can.

Talk to employees at their workstations. They are most likely to know of safety hazards. Assure them you are conducting an informal safety walk, not a formal inspection. In other words, you’re not there to point fingers or write them up.

Ask for employee input with open-ended questions. What do they consider the most significant health concerns? Have they experienced injuries on the job in the past? If they saw a safety concern, how would they report it?

These questions prevent less helpful yes-or-no answers and give you ground-level, insightful information.

Review your checklist and go over the hazards and problems you observed. Note them according to the severity of potential injuries.

Post-Inspection Procedures

Your follow-up procedures are critical to demonstrating your commitment level. You will gain the trust and confidence of employees who see you taking their safety seriously.

Prepare a list of the hazards you observed, actions required to correct them, and a timeline for correction. The timeline should be urgent but reasonable.

Some hazards may be complex or require further review. Explain how you will continue to study them and take interim corrective action.

Share your safety report with stakeholders, track and report your progress, and ensure corrective actions occur on time.

Why Is a Safety Walk Important?

A safety walkthrough addresses many important points but they all can be put under the following categories.

  • It demonstrates your commitment to safety

A walkaround shows employees that you care about workplace health and safety. You prove your commitment by regularly engaging in safety walks and taking the time to address hazards.

  • It determines your safety program’s effectiveness

A walkaround allows you to see your health and safety program in action. You can determine firsthand its effectiveness in diagnosing and eliminating hazards. You can also establish whether you need to make changes by observing:

  • If employees are engaging with and actively participating in the safety program
  • If employees write incident report
  • How effective employee training is and deciding whether they need more

A safety walk aims to address potential hazards before they lead to injuries. First, it reduces the number of incidents and keeps your employees safe and healthy. Second, walkarounds can lower costs, including lost production time and workers’ compensation expenses.

Learn more: Learn more: How Dyna Crane Services saves $300,000 and 3,000+ hours annually with automated safety checklists and audits

5 Tips for Leveraging Digital Tools for Efficient Safety Walks

While safety audits and inspections focus heavily on data-gathering, a safety walk down is more informal. However, by using software specifically designed for safety management, for example Fluix, you can make the most value of them, gathering real-time data to use in reports after the walkthrough.

1. Utilize Mobile Apps

Equip your safety walkthrough team with mobile applications that allow for real-time data collection, photo documentation, and immediate reporting. This ensures efficiency and accuracy of the walkthrough process.

2. Implement Digital Checklists

Create and utilize digital checklists tailored to your specific industry and safety requirements. Digital checklists streamline the inspection workflow, ensuring that no critical steps are missed during the safety walk.

3. Incorporate GPS and Timestamp

Leverage digital tools that integrate GPS and timestamp features. These functionalities provide precise location data and establish a timeline for each inspection point, enhancing the overall reliability of safety walk data.

4. Generate Documents for a Toolbox Talk

If your safety walk reveals employees need further training, consider creating a toolbox talk workflow. Use this informal meeting before a shift or at a project launch.

5. Enable Cloud-Based Collaboration

Opt for digital platforms that facilitate cloud-based collaboration among safety inspectors and stakeholders. This enables real-time sharing of findings, collaborative decision-making, and prompt implementation of corrective actions.

Optimizing Safety Walks with Fluix

A safety walk isn’t just another health and safety trend it’s an approach that can significantly impact your teams’ well-being, and Fluix can help you with this.

With a mobile app, digital checklists, automated workflows and real-time collaboration among safety inspectors, you can facilitate identifying safety patterns, address recurring issues, and support continuous improvement in safety practices across your operations.

Improve Your Workplace Safety and Compliance with Fluix’s Automation

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Improve Your Workplace Safety and Compliance with Fluix’s Automation

Our team is here to help you get started