What is in this article?:
- Going Mobile: Improving Inspections and Lockout/Tagout
- Lockout: Access to Information and Accountability
Thanks to safety compliance management software, vital workplace safety information immediately is accessible on mobile devices. Safety compliance software helps provide consistent and timely identification of hazardous conditions, collects and stores related information and allows for resolution of critical issues to improve the management of risk to protect the workforce and employers – all from the palm of your hand.
Safety compliance software allows you to work in two key areas specific to safety and health: the performance of inspections and the application of lockout/tagout and alternative methods to control hazardous energy. You can use the software to access processes and procedures that guide workers to establish safe working conditions while maintaining, servicing or locking out machinery.
I'd like to discuss methodology here rather than the details of software. The hope is that a compelling argument will be made to investigate what safety compliance software and mobile technology can do to enhance your safety and health program.
Planned Inspections and Spontaneous Observations
Following the time worn but proven concept of plan, do, check, act (the ANSI Z10 Safety Management Standard), we must establish the proper working conditions, implement correct procedures, evaluate actual outcomes and continuously improve practices. This requires a plan that can be measured through physical observations and validation of acceptable findings, and assignment of responsibilities to achieve the desired outcomes of your safety and health program.
Traditionally, inspections have been a paper chase with the first task being to define what will be observed and documenting it on hard copy forms. Then comes the job of manually recording observations with notes and photos, developing lengthy reports and distributing corrective actions. All of it is a time-consuming responsibility of safety professionals and others assigned to the inspection work. This takes valuable time away from leading-edge opportunities to address program improvements or tackle new challenges.
We have found that mobile technology using safety compliance software, such as smartphones and tablets, quickly can be populated with existing inspection content, enhanced with expanded recording capabilities and put on to the work floor to rapidly capture conditions, auto-document photos attached to observations, assign corrective actions appropriately via e-mail and generate the final report by simply by pressing the print button.
I recommend starting with the high-value, high-frequency inspections that really could benefit from a trend analysis that safety compliance software can provide through data capture. An example could be a chemical process where daily checks of pressures, temperatures and operating conditions routinely are gathered, yet often are not compiled into meaningful outputs that can be used to pinpoint performance issues because of time limitations.
Often, the best people to perform these inspections are very talented when it comes to the equipment they inspect and operate, but they are not necessarily as motivated as report writers to capture their findings in meaningful documentation. Using safety compliance software installed on mobile technology, they capture the data as they observe it, use drop-down menus to note the routine findings, type in important notes as needed and link key photographs. When their observations are done, their findings are ready to deliver. Trend analysis then can be performed from the compiled data collected from multiple inspections.
Other examples of high-value, high-frequency inspections include safety critical equipment, such as cranes, hoists and rigging, food safety and HACCP; quality-related functions in technical industries; over-the-road vehicle checks; and safety and hygiene observations to support compliance requirements.
Your imagination is the limit when it comes to this mobile inspection technology because it rests in the palm of your hand. Anyone empowered to record observations immediately can pull up an inspection format on his or her phone and generate findings, photos and corrective action assignments in moments. Corrective actions are logged and ready to be addressed with no delays to process paperwork. Because of this rapid turnaround and trend analysis that attacks patterns of non-compliance, the number of critical findings actually is driven down as a result of the robust and timely inspection processes in place.