Safety Awakening – “Document Everything”

August 15, 2014 No Comments

“Document Everything”

As a safety professional, at some point in your career you will be called upon to handle the investigation and management of a serious on-the-job accident.    Besides trying to identify and correct the root causes of the accident, you will also be responsible for mitigating your companies’ exposure to governmental fines and keeping your companies’ owners/executives/managers (including yourself) out of jail.

In the aftermath of a horrible accident, the most valuable asset your company can have is the full and complete documentation of everything you’ve done to prevent that type of accident from happening.  Governmental safety and health inspectors generally will not believe that you did something unless you can show them documents that support your assertions.

Store your safety documents on your computer.  Computer storage is cheap.  Back up everything on the Cloud (we use “Google Drive“).

Some companies have detailed policies on “records retention”.  Unless you’re a large company, we say just keep everything forever.  Doing so will save time by not having to sort through and selectively delete older documents that you don’t think you need.  Again, computer (and Cloud) storage is cheap.

Here are just a few of the things that you should document:

  • new employee safety orientation training
  • employee job training
  • safety re-training (training date, attendants list, topic summary, handouts, & completed quizzes)
  • safety inspections
  • maintenance records
  • safety rules and their enforcement
  • safety policies and procedures
  • risk assessments (e.g. PPE assessments, job safety analyses)
  • near miss accidents
  • accident investigations
  • safety suggestions
  • industrial hygiene surveys
  • biological monitoring results
  • third-party safety inspections
  • corrective actions taken to eliminate hazards and violations
  • anything else that you do to prevent accidents and protect your employees from hazards

Document, document, document – and when in doubt document some more!



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