Businesses working in the construction sector need to make sure their organization complies with local, state, and federal safety regulations. That is why a construction safety audit checklist is an essential part of a successful safety audit at construction sites. It helps businesses find out flaws and outliers in their safety policy.
According to OSHA, 20% of all work-related injuries occur in the construction industry. Falling incidents at construction sites top the list of ten most frequently cited OSHA safety violations in FY 2020.
In this article, we’ll see the scope of safety audit checklists and which sections of the construction domain to include to ensure the checklist helps mitigate hazards.
Scope of Construction Safety Audit Checklist
The scope of a construction safety checklist is the extent of the area that it deals with or to which it is relevant to a particular job site. There are three areas of focus in a safety checklist:
1. Site Access
Site access is an essential component of a construction safety audit checklist. In this section, the auditor checks whether a construction site’s entry and exit routes are adequately marked or not. In an emergency, the workers should know how to leave the site as quickly as possible to avoid work-related injuries. The auditor also examines whether or not the workers have easy access to their respective workplaces within the construction site.
2. Tools and Machinery
The ideal checklist also has a section which deals with the inspection of tools, equipment, and heavy machinery in operation at a construction site. It is the responsibility of the supervisors to make sure all the tools and equipment are adequately maintained and are not left precariously out in the open when not in use. If there is equipment that is not working correctly, remove it from the site.
3. Public Security
In most cases, a construction project usually takes place in public areas where it is easy for the public (pedestrians, cyclists, motorists, etc.) to enter the site unknowingly. That is why a construction safety audit checklist ensures that the construction sites are properly gated to prevent unauthorized site access. In addition to that, it also examines if proper warning signs of street closure are put in place to warn pedestrians.
This brings us to which sections to include in the safety audit for maximum benefit:
Sections to Include in the Safety Checklist
There is no one-size-fits-all approach when creating a construction safety audit checklist. Every construction site is different and has its unique set of safety challenges.
However, there are still a few sections that are common in every checklist. For example, if you are working in the construction industry, it is a good practice to add the following sections to the checklist:
Scaffolds are temporary structures used to support workers when they are busy raising or repairing buildings or bridges. Here are few things to keep in mind when inspecting a scaffolding:
- Are scaffolds fully planked and set on hard ground?
- Are workers trained in moving a scaffold horizontally if it has moving parts?
- Is scaffold in use when it is covered with ice and snow and prone to slippage?
- Are ladders, buckets, and barrels used to increase the height of the scaffold?
- Are scaffolds erected at least 10 feet away from power lines?
2. Electrical Safety
Accidents related to electrocution are one of the significant causes of concern at a construction site. In fact, according to OSHA, it is one of the top four construction hazards. Here is how you can ensure electrical safety at the job site:
- Is there a proper Lockout/Tagout system operating at the site?
- Are damaged, worn-out electrical cables replaced regularly?
- Is the main power shut down before working on new and existing hot electrical circuits?
- Do supervisors correctly identify overhead electrical wires?
- Are all electrical tools adequately maintained and checked regularly for defects?
3. Hazardous Substances
Workers at construction sites have to regularly deal with hazardous substances such as dust, mold, and solvents. Chemical solvents like cleaning fluids, adhesives, and paints are harmful to the lungs and the skin. Add the following precautions to the checklist section dealing with dangerous substances:
- Is the list of hazardous substances easily accessible to every employee?
- Are vats, bottles, and containers with dangerous substances correctly labeled with hazard warning signs?
- Is there a safety training program dedicated to dangerous substances?
- Are Safety Data Sheets (SDS) that include information such as chemical properties, health, and environmental hazards readily available?
4. Crane and Forklift Safety
Cranes, derricks, and forklifts are an indispensable part of any construction site and are used for hoisting and lowering purposes. However, they can cause work-related injuries if proper care is not taken when working with them. Here’s what you need to keep in mind for Crane and Forklift checklist section:
- Are there cranes and derricks operating within 10 feet of any electrical power lines?
- Are instructions about rated loading capacities and operating speed posted at a visible location?
- Are there tag lines to prevent dangerous and uneven load swing when raised and lowered by a crane?
- Are employees using forklifts at least 18 years old?
- Do forklifts meet the design requirements established by American National Standards Institute (ANSI)?
5. Head, Hand, and Foot Protection
Employees working at construction sites are always at risk of physical injuries. That’s why workers must wear personal protective gear at all times. Keep the following questions in mind when creating a construction safety audit checklist:
- Are workers wearing safety glasses and face shields when welding, cutting, grinding, nailing, etc.?
- Are workers wearing rugged boots that are slip-resistant?
- Are workers wearing the right kind of gloves (heavy-duty gloves for concrete work, insulated gloves for electrical work) on the job?
- Are hard hats worn by every construction employee working on the site?
As you’ve just seen, a good construction safety audit checklist will make the workplace inspection so much easier. However, unless you integrate it with technology and embrace digital solutions, audit workflow will always suffer.
Manual auditing can be cumbersome, time-consuming, hectic, and prone to human errors.
That’s why EHS platform Pulse offers checklist templates that are easy to share with your colleagues. In addition, you can customize the templates to suit your industry and synchronize the checklist in real-time. Sign up for a free trial of PulsePro now.