Different Methods of Doing a Safety Walk
When we look at QHSE and HSE management, safety walks and Gemba walks are important tool in the shed. There are different methods of doing a safety walk. These walks are used to spot unsafe situations or potentially unsafe situations in the company or on sites. Properly performing these walks is key in maintaining a high-level safety culture. Furthermore, selecting a variety of employees to do the walk is a great way to maintain this culture. Make sure not only the QHSE employees perform these walks, but also project managers, directors and blue-collar workers. When these walks are complete, make sure any important results are properly communicated.
Safety walks can be done in various ways. Different kinds of approaches have different results. To make the most out of these walks, it is important to make it as easy as possible for the employees. As with anything in QHSE, it is about reducing friction in the process and taking away boundaries. This way, people are much more inclined to really use the management system and incorporate it into their day-to-day activities.
Paper is always a way to perform a safety walk. Print the form out and clip it to the clipboard, and you are ready to go. The checklist can easily be filled in with a pencil; however, pictures cannot be incorporated into the form and have to be taken separately with a camera or phone. Also, it is pretty hard to capture the situation by simply writing it down. As the saying goes, “A picture says more than a thousand words”. Additionally, if the data needs to be analyzed, it has to be keyed over into an Excel sheet. This can be a massive task in order to key in the data in such a way that the data can be used to analyze it properly. Then you also need to file the NCRs or Issue spotted during the walk. These need to be filed separately and also registered in a separate NCR register.
The rise of the smartphone and all kinds of apps makes it much easier to perform safety walks. You have hundreds of apps that make life a lot easier, by allowing you to create a checklist that even allows you to take pictures. However, these apps run in silos. The walks and checks are done in the app but the NCRs or issues are still stored in other registers. This still makes it hard to collect and analyze the data. Yes, the walks themselves just got easier, but the data is still scattered.
Moving the safety walks onto a QHSE platform combines the benefits of the app with proper interlinkage and fast filing of the issues and NCRs. It allows for cross-divisional analysis, which is great for improvement plans. Collected data during the safety walks can be analyzed while NCRs are instantly filed according to a structured NCR process. This way, all the data is centralized and easily accessible. No more searching for reports and compiling data in Excel sheets.