The ‘Simple Six’ for Basic Safety Compliance
It’s 9 am on a Monday morning and you just finished your daily operational status meeting. You, as the plant manager, get a text message. Someone from OSHA’s enforcement division is at the front office for a site inspection.
Immediately, you get one of two thoughts—you are confident your site is always up to inspection-ready standards—or nerves and anxiety take over your body, pushing stress levels to 110%.
If you want to avoid the latter, here is a suggested approach to getting your site inspection ready at all times with basic safety requirements.
If effectively implemented, it will not cost you anything. It does not matter how small or large your site is.
The items from NFPA 101’s Life Safety Code should be assessed at least weekly, if not daily to assure you are in good shape.
- All exit signs are posted and in good order (illuminated and/or clearly visible)
- Emergency exits are not blocked or obstructed from inside or outside the facility
- Fire extinguishers are not blocked, their locations are visible, and inspections are up to date (including a verification extinguisher has not exceeded its hydrostatic testing date)
- Eyewash stations/showers (if you have them) have been inspected monthly and are properly functioning.
- Electrical panels are not blocked and meet required clearances
- All emergency lights are working and tests are done monthly
It is important to remember that at any time, emergency exits can become obstructed, fire extinguishers and electrical panels can become blocked.
At the beginning of each shift these should be checked until there is a level of confidence that all employees know these requirements.
I think most will agree the culture of an organization is directly proportional to what its managers and leaders demand and communicate.
One of those demands should be that the facility is everybody’s house. It is not someone else’s responsibility to take care of these basic conditions of the workplace that keep its employees safe.
The simple six basic compliance requirements need to be the direct responsibility of the supervisors and employees of their respective work areas. It should be a formal annual performance objective.
There is the old adage, you never have a second chance to make a good first impression.
When I walk into a facility, I can immediately get a sense of how well run an organization is simply by what I see as it relates to workplace conditions.
The simple six fit right in and are immediately observable.
When I see exit signs not in place or not illuminated where they should be, or emergency exits and/or electrical panels blocked, it says a lot about what I will find next as I dig further.
The OSHA inspector who just showed up will notice too.
Don’t get me wrong, for each of these simple six, there is much more detail behind each one. However, I challenge you to simply go out into your facility and evaluate the condition of your facility and see if these requirements measure up.
You don’t need to hire a safety professional to assure these are in good order, you just need to make them part of your organizational DNA.
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