How to Conduct A Health and Safety Survey

Learn how to create an effective health and safety strategy. Here are some tips to get you started.

How to Conduct A Health and Safety Survey

If you're starting to run a business and want to ensure it runs safely, you must conduct a health and safety survey of your business premises and employees.

This will help identify any potential hazards in your workplace, keeping your workers safe from harm and creating an environment conducive to productivity, allowing you to get the most out of your staff.

You can create an effective safety strategy for your business by asking the right questions in your health and safety survey. Here are some tips to get you started.

Check your Business for Health and Safety Hazards

If you're starting your business, it's possible you don't even know whether there are any health or safety hazards in your work environment. The best way to determine what you need to look for is by asking an outside source.

More often than not, local fire departments offer free or low-cost building inspections. They typically have access to equipment (such as gas detection devices) that would cost you a lot if you tried buying on your own.

If they find something unsafe in your workplace, they may even be able to help fix it for free! A free checkup might not seem like much when you're first starting, but imagine how much it could save later on down the road.

Identify All Risks

The best way to determine your need is by understanding what makes your business unique.

Do you have any dangerous equipment?

Are there chemicals or hazardous materials used in your workplace?

Is it possible for employees or customers to fall or slip at your location?

Make a list of all potential hazards.

Hint: If you are not sure, err on the side of caution! Record each item's location, category, and specific risks. You can also include parking lot lighting (or lack thereof), signage (or lack thereof), traffic patterns at rush hour, exit routes, etc., if applicable.

Select the Appropriate Methods

When picking a method for your health and safety survey, there are plenty of choices. No one size fits all; you may want to ask employees specific questions about alcohol use, while others are better suited for gauging attitudes or job satisfaction.

If you're having trouble picking an approach, focus on how much personal information you want your respondents to share with you. The more candid they can be, the better—but remember that some approaches lend themselves better to specific topics than others.

For example, anonymous surveys (like those done by email) work best when inquiring about sensitive subjects like drug use in an office setting.

List all the Potential Responses

Before you think about creating your survey, make sure you've created a list of all potential responses. What are some questions you could ask your employees? What types of data do you want to collect? By brainstorming all possible options ahead of time, it'll be easier for you to create a thorough survey.

Prioritize based on the level of risk

First, identify what are known as risk factors. These elements related to your employees' work environment can cause injury. Examples include repetitive motions, ergonomic issues, tripping hazards, slip-and-fall risks, and exposure to environmental hazards.

Once you've identified these factors as priorities for your survey, create questions around them. Ensure each question has an answer that corresponds with a specific level of risk (i.e., low, medium, or high). Understanding whether something is present in your workplace and how it may impact employee safety is essential.

For example: Is there oil onsite? If so, what type of oil? How is it stored? Does a spill containment area cover it?

Call in Professionals if Necessary

Many small business owners think they can handle health and safety themselves, but experts often recommend bringing in specialists if you don't have specific experience.

A professional helps ensure you stay up-to-date on regulations (which vary from state to state) and provides valuable information about potential dangers, like roof access or pool accessibility.

Even with specialized help, it's still essential for business owners to do their assessment: Asking employees what they like—and don't like—about your business is one of many ways you can measure satisfaction levels on an ongoing basis. Satisfied workers are less likely to hurt themselves at work or take sick days unnecessarily.

Test Solutions before Implementation

Have your health and safety solution provider conduct simulations before rolling out any new program. Get an idea of how it will work onsite with actual employees in their day-to-day environment, not at a university research center or laboratory.

Can employees figure out how to operate it without undue frustration? Will people use it? With simulation, you can see answers to these questions before investing in new solutions.

Also, ask your health and safety solution provider for references from other clients using their services. Meeting those references can help you decide if they are compatible with your culture or goal.

Monitor After Implementation

Once you've collected your data, analyze it. This will tell you whether your program is working—or whether you need to change course.

For example, if 10 percent of employees report being injured.

Still, only 5 percent file a formal report with human resources; you should consider adding more feedback forms in areas where more injuries are likely (e.g., construction sites or factories).

Suppose 80 percent of employees say they know how to get emergency help in an emergency, but almost all of them can't locate their building's alarm box. In that case, you need better signage on fire escapes—and training on what buttons should be pushed in which circumstances.

Hold Another Review after 3 Months

After three months, re-evaluate your health and safety survey. Take stock of where you are in terms of meeting your goal.

Is everything going according to plan?

How many employees have completed the survey?

What do you need to adjust? Does it still make sense for everyone to complete a survey every three months?

After all, if they're doing well, they might not have as much input as people who could use some help. Consider adding another check-in halfway through, or in six months or nine months instead of at three.

Free Health and Safety Survey Template

If you are a health and safety manager needing a free health and safety survey template, you are in luck. We've got you covered. Need something new? you could create a new form using our free online form builder.