Introduction:

All healthcare facilities are designed for the purpose of taking care of sick or injured patients.

This is a tremendous responsibility, and so the last thing they need is to deal with avoidable safety concerns that can be controlled and managed by performing a comprehensive safety inspection at least every six months. 

The components of the inspection include:

  • Fire safety and evacuation
  • Electrical safety
  • Hazardous material safety
  • General safety
  • Security management

This checklist will guide you through a comprehensive safety inspection for each of these components, to ensure that your facility is providing patients and staff members with a safe environment that is equipped to deal with almost any emergency situation.

Let's get going. 

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Enter basic details

Fire safety and evacuation:

Check doors are propped open appropriately

Doors located where people or objects (e.g. trolleys) are constantly going through should be propped open with a secure device

This is particularly important for emergency treatment areas where a closed door or malfunctioning prop could cause the loss of valuable time. 

Ensure all extinguishers are in place and in good condition

Check that all fire extinguishers are in place and in good condition.

Complete the tasks below to ensure each extinguisher is functioning properly.

If any extinguishers are missing or need replacing, note down their location below and get them replaced as soon as possible. 

  • 1
    Check the pressure gauge (If the needle falls inside the green area, your good to go. Anywhere else, it needs replacing)
  • 2
    Check the inspection sticker (it should be serviced annually)4
  • 3
    Check for wear-and-tear (e.g. cracked/ripped hose or nozzle, missing locking pin, broken handle)

Most extinguishers should work for 5 to 15 years, but you can check the label or check with the manufacturer for your model.

Ensure sprinklers and smoke alarms are operational

Smoke alarms

Confirm that all smoke alarms are working by pressing and holding the test button on the alarm.

A loud-ear piercing siren should begin to sound if the smoke alarm is in proper working order. If not, replace the batteries and repeat the test.  

Sprinkler system

  1. If your sprinklers are connected to an alarm, inform the fire department that you are going to do a test.
  2. Find your water flow test control valve, also labeled main drain, inspector test or test and drain.
  3. Slowly turn the test control valve on. Let the water run for about one minute. You might hear an alarm at this point. If you do not hear anything, including a flow of water, notify your sprinkler system company immediately to make a repair.
  4. Slowly turn the control valve off again and notify the fire department or central alarm that the test is complete.

Check all fire exit signs are illuminating properly

Check all of the fire exit signs in the unit/hospital are illuminating. 

If any are not, note that down in the section below and get them repaired as soon as possible. 

Check doors to materials rooms are closed locked

Ensure that any doors to rooms containing medical or biohazardous material are securely locked.

Ensure emergency exit doors and corridors are clear

Check to make sure that all emergency exit doors and corridors are free of obstruction.

If there are any obstructing objects, they should be removed immediately.  

Ensure all flammable material is stored appropriately

All flammable or combustible materials must be stored appropriately. 

In your hospital, the majority if not all flammable materials will be liquids such as:

  • Acetone
  • Alocohols
  • Ether
  • Xylene
  • Benzene

Make sure that all of the above and any other flammable materials are stored securely in a cabinet or room that meets the requirements of section 9.5.1 of NFPA 30

Ensure no unauthorized heat producing equipment is present

Check to make sure that there is no unauthorized heat-producing equipment (e.g. toasters, portable heaters) in the building/unit. 

Electrical safety:

Check all electrical outlets are in good condition

Inspect all of the electrical outlets to make sure they are in good condition

If any show signs of damage or wear and tear, report back to the relevant personnel so an electrician can be sent to take a look and make repairs as necessary. You can attach a photo below to show the damage

Confirm all critical equipment is plugged into a red outlet

Red outlets in hospitals and medical facilities indicate that they are on emergency backup power. 

Any lifesaving and other critical equipment must be plugged into a red outlet 

Ensure extension cords are secured to the ground

Any and all extension caused must be properly secured to the ground so they don't present a trip hazard. 

Check all switches and receptacles have covers

Check and verify that all switches, receptacles and computer boxes have covers or plates. 

If any are missing, attach a photo below and add a note with the location so it can be addressed as soon as possible. 

Hazardous material safety:

Ensure gas cylinders are stored appropriately

One of the most common hazards in a health care facility is the storing and handling of medical gas cylinders. - NFPA

Requirements for the storage of medical gas cylinders depends on the volume of gas within the cylinders. 

For cylinders containing a volume between 300ft3 and 3000ft3, they must be stored in an outdoor location or in an interior enclosure of noncombustible or limited combustible construction.

For more details on storage requirements, particularly for cylinders containing a volume of gas above 3000ft3, read the leaflet attached below, provided by the NFPA.

Ensure hazardous materials are stored appropriately

The general rule of thumb is that materials that are toxic in the condition they are stored, or which can decompose into toxic components from contact with heat, moisture, acid fumes shall be stored in a cool, well-ventilated place out of the direct rays of the sun. 

Things to verify regarding hazardous material storage include:

  • 1
    Materials are stored in a cool, well-ventilated space out of direct rays of sunlight
  • 2
    Each product is labeled with the appropriate hazard label
  • 3
    Incompatible materials are segregated
  • 4
    Large bottles of acids are stored in low shelf cabinets

For compliance with strict regulations, the installation of chemical storage buildings is becoming an increasingly popular choice for hospitals. To find out more, click here to see 4 reasons why hospitals need these buildings for storing hazardous materials.

Ensure staff are able to obtain an MSDS

All staff must be able to obtain a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS); a technical document that provides detailed information on a controlled, often hazardous product. 

Material Data Safety Sheets are a critical component of the United States OSHA Hazard Communication Standard, which states that “anyone who might handle, work with or be exposed to hazardous materials must have access to the Material Safety Data Sheets.”

General safety:

Confirm all lighting is operational

Complete the sub checklist below to ensure that all lighting in the unit/building is operational.

  • 1
    There is adequate illumination
  • 2
    Good natural lighting
  • 3
    No direct or reflected glare
  • 4
    Light fittings are clean and in good condition
  • 5
    Night lights are fitted and functional

If there are any lighting fixtures that are in need of maintenance, note their location down in the section below so they can be repaired as soon as possible. 

Ensure stairways meet safety standards

Inspect all stairways and complete the sub checklist below to ensure that they meet safety standards. 

  • 1
    Free of obstacles
  • 2
    Step surfaces are not slippery
  • 3
    Carpet intact (if applicable)
  • 4
    Hand rails fixed and in good condition
  • 5
    Fire doors are closed

If there are any stairs or stairways that are in need of maintenance, note their location down in the section below so they can be repaired as soon as possible. 

Ensure aisles and floors meet safety standards

Complete the sub checklist below to ensure that all aisles and floors meet safety standards.

  • 1
    All aisles and floors are free of obstruction
  • 2
    Emergency exit doors are free from obstruction
  • 3
    Appropriate footwear worn by staff
  • 4
    Carpet intact (if applicable)
  • 5
    Non-slippery (if floors are wet, safety sign is present)

If there are aisles or areas of flooring that are in need of maintenance, note their location down in the section below so they can be repaired as soon as possible. 

Check all ceiling tiles are in good condition

Check to make sure that all ceiling tiles are in good condition.

If any tiles are wet, stained or damaged in any way, note their location down in the section below and report back to the relevant personnel so they can be replaced as soon as possible. 

Check all windows are in good condition

Complete the sub checklist below to ensure that all windows are in good condition.

  • 1
    Lockable
  • 2
    Controlled opening height
  • 3
    In good condition
  • 4
    Fly screens are in good condition

If there are any windows that are in need of maintenance, note their location down in the section below so they can be repaired as soon as possible. 

General security management:

Ensure employee belongings are secured and out of sight

All employee personal belonging must be secured and out of sight from patients, visitors, and other members of the public. 

Ensure confidential material is secured and protected

When it comes to patient records, confidentiality is of critical importance. 

Make sure that all documents containing sensitive personal information are stored securely and cannot be accessed by anyone without the appropriate clearance. 

Confidential records should not be left where other people may have casual access to them and information about patients should be sent under private and confidential cover, with appropriate measures to ensure that it does not go astray.

Ensure medications are secured

Make sure that any rooms or cabinets containing medication are secured and cannot be accessed by patients, visitors, or any other members of the public without permission from authorized personnel. 

Ensure doors with security hardware are operational

Some doors in the unit/building will be equipped with security hardware to ensure only authorized personnel are able to enter. 

Ensure that all such doors are operational and the hardware is working as expected. 

If any are not, note down their location in the section below and report back to the relevant personnel so it can be repaired as soon as possible. 

Final steps:

Summarize the inspection

Provide a brief summary of the safety inspection so that it can be reviewed and approved by a senior staff member. 

Add any additional comments

If there are any particular points of concern that you think should be addressed, or general comments regarding the inspection, note them down in the section below before completing the checklist. 

Approval: Confirm the inspection has been completed

Will be submitted for approval:
  • Summarize the inspection
    Will be submitted

Sources:

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