What do the world’s tallest building, a seven-course meal, and a family vacation all have in common? They all started with a plan. Whether that plan is a blueprint, a recipe, or an itinerary, each requires meticulous planning and preparation.
Maintaining your K-12 school facilities might not be quite as complicated as building the world’s tallest skyscraper, but the same rules apply, and you need a plan to succeed. Your plan should start with a facility safety inspection checklist. This checklist ensures that all your school technicians and maintenance team members deliver consistent results throughout the work order fulfillment process.
Here’s everything you need to get started with your facility safety checklist, as well as a few helpful examples for inspiration.
What is a Facility Inspection Checklist?
A facility inspection checklist documents each of the steps that K-12 facility teams must take to ensure the safety and regular maintenance of school facilities. These checklists are regularly used to maintain corporate offices, hospitals, event centers, airports, and other large facilities that require a thoroughly documented maintenance process. K-12 facilities require the same attention to detail—here are the sections your school facility safety checklist should include:
General Maintenance: The general maintenance section is used to highlight common maintenance activities that should be performed on a regular basis. A few of these activities include:
- Checking doors, windows, floors, and other surfaces for obvious signs of damage
- Making sure there are no obstructions to school walkways
- Inspecting cleanliness throughout the school campus
Storage and Supplies: The storage and supplies section is used to ensure that your maintenance teams are fully stocked with the spare parts and supplies needed to make repairs. School facility teams can easily perform this inventory management procedure, and it plays a crucial role in preventive maintenance in K-12 schools.
Health and Safety: This section is used to document the current health and safety status of your facilities, and it’s vital to maintaining a safe learning and working environment for K-12 students, teachers, and staff. Common activities included in this section are:
- Ensuring fire extinguishers, sprinkler systems, and other safety equipment is in working order
- Verifying that there are no harmful substances or hazardous materials on school campuses. This is critical when inspecting the safety of school science labs that regularly use chemicals and other potentially hazardous materials
- Regular maintenance to cafeteria and kitchen appliances—especially to refrigeration systems and walk-in freezers that prevents spoilage and the growth of harmful bacteria on school food
- Checking if first aid supplies are available and not expired.
Final Inspection Notes: This section can be used as a “final assessment” of the current status of your district facilities. If no immediate repairs are needed, your facility teams can mark this section as “all clear” or “in working order.” However, if there are obvious signs of damage or safety hazards to a district facility, this section should be used to summarize its current status. Your school maintenance team can then document all the necessary repairs needed, translate them into work orders, and submit them to your school facility management software.
OSHA Requirements for Public Schools
Not all K-12 facility teams need to worry about OSHA requirements, but it helps to understand their best recommendations when creating an inspection checklist or safety program.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) defines and regulates safe, healthy working conditions for employees under the federal Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970.
In States under Federal OSHA without a State plan, OSHA has no authority to inspect or enforce standards in public schools. However, the local Federal OSHA office can be contacted to provide hazard recognition assistance and technical support. To get a quick reference of which states fall under OSHA jurisdiction, check out this report conducted by the Congressional Research Service.
Common OSHA inspection activities in K-12 public schools include:
- Checking indoor air quality levels for contaminants like asbestos
- Ensuring that schools have set procedures for emergency response in the case of a fire, tornado, etc
- Checking that personal protective equipment such as gloves and protective eyewear are readily available
- Inspecting electrical safety precautions to prevent electrocutions and fires on school campus
Even if you work in a private school or don’t fall under OSHA jurisdiction, OSHA safety guidelines can guide you as you create your school’s facility safety checklist.
K-12 Inspection Checklist Essentials
Once you’ve included the other sections above, here are the other essential tasks and best practices you should include in your facility safety inspection checklist.
Inspector and facility IDs. Your checklist should always include the inspector’s name, job title, and the facility they’re inspecting. These details can later be entered in your school facility management software to access a complete service history of the facilities in your district.
A well-documented emergency response plan. This plan should include directions for teachers, students, and staff during emergencies. It should also include a blueprint that shows the location of all emergency exits, stairwells, and points of entry in case of an evacuation. You can find several examples of school emergency plans and resources here.
Document the location of all first aid supplies. At minimum, every K-12 classroom should come equipped with a first aid kit on-hand. Your school facility teams should document the location of any and all first aid supplies throughout the school campus. If a first aid kit is running low on essential supplies, teachers can submit a work order to replace them.
Separate checklists for various school facilities. Not all school facilities are built the same. When creating your inspection checklist, consider creating separate lists for the various school facilities found on campus, including the school cafeteria, gym, theater, weight room, etc. Not only does it provide teams with clearer instructions when conducting regular maintenance in schools, but it ensures that no important safety details are overlooked during safety inspections.
How to Use a Facility Safety Checklist
Unless your school facility maintenance falls under specific state or federal guidelines, your safety checklist can be organized and used according to your district’s needs.
That being said, certain guidelines make it easier to conduct routine safety inspections. Using a checklist properly includes:
- Planning routine facility safety checks
- Reviewing each area on the checklist with a manager
- Coordinating training for managers and maintenance teams on how to use the checklist properly
- Following up on any inspection items that need updating
Executing Your School Facility Safety Plan
Your inspection checklist acts as a blueprint for school facility maintenance, but it’s ultimately up to your team to tick all the boxes. K-12 maintenance teams can use school facility management software to document, organize, and execute all the regular maintenance needed to keep school facilities up and running.
At Incident IQ, we’ve developed a service platform that connects facilities teams with other K-12 departments that are crucial to carrying out school operations. Using our school facility management software, maintenance teams can complete work orders, track team performance, and create custom maintenance reports with tools built specifically for K-12.
Schedule a demo with a member of our team to see how we’re helping facility teams get more done.