Are your inspections as efficient as they could be? Do they find every potential problem, even those that aren’t immediately clear? Are corrective actions carried out all the way to closure? And, over time, do your efforts lead to an increase in safety and environmental performance?
All of these questions are vital, and if you rely on your inspections to detect and correct hazardous issues, you must be aware of current best practices. Here are six suggestions to help you improve the efficiency of your inspections:
1. Standardize Your Inspection Procedure
When it comes to inspections, one of the most common mistakes firms make is not having a standardized approach in place.
Consider what would happen if an airline allowed a pilot to fly an airplane without using a checklist, relying solely on their own experience to ensure that nothing was overlooked. Similarly, when each inspector uniquely performs their duties, vital details may be overlooked.
Establishing a standardized inspection method and consistently adhering to it can yield higher-quality data and better results. Inspectors will also become more efficient with time, saving time and money for your firm.
2. Eliminate the Need for Manual Data Entry
Errors are unavoidable when data is entered manually. They might occur due to unclear handwriting on forms, misinterpretation of comments, or even a simple typographical error. When inspection data is incorrect owing to human error, regardless of the cause, businesses risk making unwise decisions.
The simplest way to avoid this issue in the first place is to eliminate the need to rekey most, if not all, data from paper forms. Data can be entered immediately into the system at the time of inspection when using web-based inspection forms.
Inspectors will appreciate the ability to fill out only the pertinent questions, which is not available with paper forms. Besides that, consider how much time your team will save at work! They’ll be able to focus on the tasks that matter because they’ll have fewer forms to fill out.
3. Use Mobile Assessment Apps to Your Advantage
Paper forms that are crumpled, coffee-stained, forgotten, or not turned in are no longer an issue with web-based inspections, and the advantages don’t end there.
Many companies have already learned that conducting inspections with mobile apps results in more thoroughness and richer data.
It’s easy to forget or overlook a question on paper forms. On the other hand, inspectors can use mobile apps to walk them through the process and guarantee that all forms are filled out completely. They can simply pick up where they left off without losing anything, even if the form is long or they are interrupted.
Inspectors can also snap photos, film videos, and record audio, all of which can be synced instantly between their phone and the central office. There’s no need to upload files and then email them afterward. Together with the inspection findings, these files will be sent immediately to the central office for easier analysis and reporting, resulting in more efficient and effective inspections.
4. Determine the Best Inspection Frequency
What is the recommended frequency of inspections? Of course, the answer is that it varies.
Inspection frequency is affected by a variety of elements in each business. Because there is no one-size-fits-all solution, you’ll have to use your judgment to develop a timetable that maximizes your resources while ensuring that no concerns are neglected.
Take a look at the average number of results from previous evaluations. Adding follow-up inspections or examining more frequently is generally a good choice if inspections consistently uncover problems. On the other hand, if problems are identified infrequently, you might reduce the frequency of inspections.
The nature of work and its dangers, the size of operations, new hazards or activities, and changes in legislation, processes, or equipment can all influence the frequency of inspections.
5. Assign Facility-Level Inspections
An Environment, Health & Safety (EHS) team member or a high-level supervisor will not be required to perform every inspection. In fact, having inspections conducted by someone from a different department isn’t always advantageous.
Some inspections, such as quality checks and maintenance inspections, are most effective when carried out by someone who has firsthand knowledge of the equipment, processes, or work practices in question. Expanding employee participation in the inspection process is simple to achieve with mobile apps, and it gives vital insight that might otherwise go unnoticed.
Assigning inspections at the facility level can also save a lot of administration and travel time. This typically leads to thousands of dollars in travel-related savings. In addition, if travel is limited for any reason, inspections might continue unabated.
6. Make Corrective Actions More Automated
Inspections aren’t always as effective as they may be because of a lack of follow-through. Failure to correct issues discovered during an inspection can lead to an accident or legal action.
As a result, it’s critical to ensure that corrective activities are completed consistently. One approach is to employ inspection software to automate the corrective action process.
Assume an inspector finds some of your safety data sheets (SDSs) to be out of date. During the inspection, a corrective action to update these SDSs can be assigned. Alternatively, this could be done automatically based on system-configurable rules. The proper person will be alerted in any situation when action is required. If the remedial action is not done by the deadline, it will be escalated to a supervisor, who will be held accountable.
Steps To Take Next
You’ll be in a better position to make your inspections efficient and effective if you follow these six best practices.