5 Spring Cleaning Tasks to Reduce Safety Issues

[fa icon="calendar"] Tue, Apr 05, 2016 / by Rachel Beavins Tracy


Spring is here, and the summer travel season is coming fast on its heels. It’s a great time for cleaning out your wardrobe, getting organized on home maintenance projects and, at work, evaluating safety processes to see where improvements are needed.

To help you start off the season on the right foot, we’ve put together a list of spring cleaning tasks you should perform in your Safety Management System (SMS) to reduce incidents and injuries.

1. Clean out Your Risk Register

An important part of reducing safety problems is staying on top of risk. Within the SMS, the Risk Register centralizes risk items to give you a full picture of risk and help you analyze trends so you can make a strategic risk mitigation plan.

Key questions to ask include:

  • Where are high-risk gaps? Quantitative Risk Assessment tools can help you prioritize your work.
  • Where are new controls needed? Look for repeat issues, which may signal a need for additional controls.
  • Which controls are unnecessary? If your process never bumps up against a particular control, it may not be worth the cost.
2. Update Employee Training

In a truly safe company, employee training isn’t just a one-time thing. Rather than a static event, it should be a living process that’s updated alongside major changes or whenever you uncover training gaps.

Spring cleaning tasks for your Employee Training tracking system include asking:

  • Who hasn’t completed training? An integrated system that pulls data from human resources can help identify job transfers or new hires missing key requirements.
  • Does our training program cause safety problems? Reviewing the root cause of Corrective and Preventive Actions (CAPAs) can uncover areas where training doesn’t adequately prepare employees to work safely.
  • Should recent updates trigger new training requirements? If you’ve recently updated any key processes or policies, or if you’ve undergone any significant change management initiatives, you might consider updating training requirements.
3. Review Your Safety Processes

It’s important to periodically review safety protocols to be sure everything is up-to-date and synchronized with other key changes across the company.

Critical areas to look at include:

  • Documents. Read through your safety policies and procedures with a critical eye, asking whether changes since these documents were created warrant updating documentation. Document Control software within an automated SMS provides a revision-controlled environment for making changes, also helping you trigger new training requirements if necessary.
  • Job Safety Analysis (JSA). You’ll want to check whether your repository of JSAs is up-to-date. Have you introduced any new equipment or procedures that need a new JSA? Do any recent changes affect your current JSAs? Integrated Risk Assessment tools can help you quickly identify areas of unacceptable risk.
  • Change Management. This is a good time to get proactive about analyzing any change initiatives you’ve been putting off that could improve your safety process and reduce injuries.
4. Keep Equipment Tuned Up

Spring cleaning activities should ensure all physical systems are running optimally, helping minimize safety incidents that result from equipment failures.

For example, you may want to evaluate calibration and maintenance schedules, as well as monitoring and inspection procedures, to ensure equipment is getting the proper attention.

Another way to ensure equipment runs properly at all times is to set dashboard alerts for when key monitoring parameters approach or exceed critical thresholds.

5. Evaluate Contractors and Suppliers

Your company may manage a large number of suppliers or contractors, which introduces risk into your organization. Rather than just managing problems on an individual basis, you should periodically take a step back to get a high-level view of how contractors impact risk and costs within the company.

Essential tasks in this area include:

  • Reviewing Supplier Ratings to evaluate who are your best and worst performing suppliers.
  • Tracking costs and problems to see which suppliers consume the most resources, both in terms of time and money.
  • Evaluating supplier responsiveness by looking at average time to closure on CAPAs you’ve assigned to them within the SMS.

Looking at the bigger picture is critical when you get ready to make supplier decisions.  In fact, taking the time to evaluate all the areas of performance we’ve discussed here can pay off big in terms of safety issues.

Luckily, while spring cleaning is something we tend to put off because of the hassle, an integrated SMS makes it simple to generate detailed reports without getting bogged down in the details. When the summer travel season hits and things get really busy, you’ll be glad you did the work to keep everything running smoothly.

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Topics: aviation

Rachel Beavins Tracy

Written by Rachel Beavins Tracy

Rachel Tracy is a writer for EtQ with expertise in environmental, healthcare and technology topics. She has a master’s degree from Vanderbilt University and has been writing for businesses since 2008.

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