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Why you need a safety inspection checklist

checklistAstronauts use checklists; airline pilots use checklists. Surgical teams use checklists in the operating room.

You might think the level of risk in your business doesn't match the level of risk in a spacecraft or hospital, but there are still good reasons to insist your staff use a safety inspection checklist every time they use heavy equipment.

Risks of Not Having a Checklist

Equipment that worked right yesterday isn't guaranteed to work right today. Obviously there are risks of injury to your workers and people you care about if equipment fails. Should something happen, you are at financial risk if you are sued; even if you are covered by insurance, your rates will certainly increase. You may feel the time spent performing inspections is time that should be spent working or that checking out equipment reduces productive work time, but if something goes wrong, productive work time will become zero. Work will certainly be shut down while the incident is investigated.

Implementing a Safety Inspection Checklist

First you need to create the checklist. Actually, you need to create multiple checklists; you should have a separate inspection checklist for each type of equipment tailored to its major systems and/or components. Manufacturers often provide suggested checklists in their documentation. Your checklist form should require marking each system as inspected even if no problem is found. This way you have ongoing documentation that equipment is being examined, rather than blank forms unless an issue is identified.

You also need to train your crews to perform the inspections. The training should instruct them as to where and when inspections should be conducted, where to get any equipment needed to perform the inspection, and how problems are to be reported.

Do spot-checks to make sure the operators really perform the inspections rather than just ticking off boxes. Also, it is good practice to come up with a clever way to reward those who perform inspections correctly, rather than just punishing those who don't.

Use the Checklist Results

Most importantly, don't allow issues documented on the checklist to be ignored. While having a paper trail will help you if an accident occurs, the point of the checklist is to prevent accidents. Make sure the maintenance team knows you are implementing this new checklist process and that they are prepared to address issues as they come up. Everyone on your staff needs to work together the make sure the checklists are used and a culture of safety develops.

Click here to download a checklist.

To learn more about checklists and rental equipment, contact Neff Rental or call us at 888-709-6333. We are ready to assist you with your equipment needs.


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