The Checker Blog

Summer Heat: It's Not Just Your Employees You Have To Worry About

Posted by Shawn Macpherson on Mon, Jul 30, 2018 @ 09:00 AM

 

Summer It's Not Just Your Employees

Every season brings with it its share of meteorological conditions that can pose various risks to both employees and equipment. In the summertime, higher temperatures, higher humidity levels, increased sun exposure, or generally dry conditions, are the norm. When combined with a usually higher workload during this time of year, accidents are likelier to happen.   

Your employees should be given the top priority. While some may think that summer heat is nothing more than an uncomfortable nuisance that slows us down, makes us sweat, or pushes us to look for a shady spot to lie down to take a nap. If we are not careful, it can also lead to heat exhaustion or heat stroke, which, in turn, can result in seizures, coma, or even death. 

Nevertheless, your equipment and heavy machinery are also at a higher risk of malfunction which can result in a series of maintenance and repair challenges. Higher heat and humidity, for instance, can cause machinery components to work harder and under more strain, resulting in faster wear and tear. 

Preventive maintenance and close monitoring of this equipment will help you prevent any unforeseen breakdowns, downtime, and repairs. Here are some tips on what to keep your eye on and how to maintain your machinery in proper order during the summer. 

The Day-to-Day Inspections 

Daily inspections, especially during this time of year, are highly critical. Operators should check the coolant and hydraulic fluid to make sure that they are at the proper level to function at higher atmospheric temperatures. 

Most modern radiators are built to run full to eliminate the possibility of air entering the system. Make sure that the coolant expansion reservoir is always at the full mark. Operators should also inspect the radiator cap and ensure proper valve operation and the relief pressure. The radiator, as well as all inlets and outlets of the engine hoods, should be kept clear of debris at all times to prevent clogging.

Tires and tire pressure should also be inspected regularly. At higher temperatures, the air in the tires expands - a scenario that can lead to less grip, faster tire wear, or even a tire explosion. Also, check the windshield wiper operation, as well as the status of the air conditioning system to ensure a comfortable and efficient working environment. 

Proper Maintenance

Operators should never overwork their equipment during the summer. Because of the generally higher temperatures, using the machinery beyond its capabilities could lead to breakdowns. It's also possible that the machine's temperature levels are elevated even if there doesn't seem to be anything out of the ordinary. In this case, operators need to contact the service department to check the thermostat opening temperature.

Many modern day machines come already equipped with telematics. If this is the case with your equipment as well, monitor engine temperature remotely and look for any odd spikes in temperature. These are often a reliable indicator of a malfunction somewhere in the machine.  

When not in use, your heavy machinery and other equipment should be stored in a dry and sheltered space to keep them away from the elements. Moisture, in the form of dew or a flash summer rain, can lead to rust, which can result in damage to your equipment's operating systems.  

Takeaway

Summer may seem like the time when you won't have to worry about your equipment's wellbeing, but it is not the case. High temperatures, prolonged sun exposure, and humidity can all affect the functionality of your machinery. Ensure everything is in proper working order by using The Checker Software. Besides making sure that your equipment is in top order, the software will also help you with all of your other safety checks. 

Topics: why inspect?, safety management, safety awareness, workplace safety, audit software

What Does A Safety Program Look Like?

Posted by Shawn Macpherson on Tue, Jul 03, 2018 @ 11:55 AM

 

What Does a Safety Program Look Like picture

Taking a proactive and deliberate approach towards safety in the workplace is the best way to optimize effectiveness and employee performance, increase morale, reduce long-term costs and liabilities, as well as to lower the risk of injury, all the while, streamlining operations.

For all the benefits that it can offer, a safety program doesn't materialize out of nothing. What's more, some business owners are inclined to skip it altogether in the hopes of reducing costs, not taking the full picture into account. But like any government infrastructure program, a comprehensive safety plan purpose is to keep everything working as smoothly as possible, without any disruptive events ever taking place. 

With that said, here are the 'pillars' that make up an excellent safety program. 

Committing to Workplace Safety

The first step in building an effective safety program is to have the company's executives committed to safety and employee wellness. If protection is not a top priority, then there is little to no hope of building and maintaining a comprehensive plan. It is in the company's long-term interest in having one such safety program firmly in place.

Identifying Hazards and Assessing Risks

Identifying hazards and assessing the risks present in the workplace is a crucial step in achieving an effective safety plan. While the law doesn't require you to eliminate all likelihood, it does expect you to protect against them as much as practically possible. Your employees are an excellent place to start in identifying these hazards, as they are exposed to them on a daily basis. Performing an in-depth safety inspection will ensure that you cover every angle.

Educating Employees

Even the most comprehensive safety program will not be useful if your employees do not follow it. With this in mind, management should stipulate all safety requirements in writing and create a safety culture that exhibits accountability. All employee job descriptions should clearly state the requirements regarding safety responsibilities.

Safety training is an indispensable part of ensuring that all employees have the necessary knowledge and know-how on how to keep up with the safety program. It's also in everyone's best interest to have your employees actively look out for and report any hazards that they may uncover while on the job.

Conducting Regular Inspections for Compliance

Once your safety program is up and running, you should perform regular inspections for compliance. Statistics show that these inspections can significantly reduce the risk of accidents, even after several years. Not only are these great for making sure that everything is running smoothly, but they can also determine the strengths and weaknesses of your safety program. You can use this opportunity to improve your plan, lowering the risk even further. 

The frequency at which you conduct these inspections should be dictated by the size of your business, the acquisition of new machinery, the implementation of new work processes, the number of past accidents, as well as the legislation in your area. 

Takeaway

Safety in the workplace is not something that should be taken lightly, and neither is safety programs. Even if some see it as an extra expense, safety plans are a great example of forward-thinking. To make sure that you are keeping up with all the requirements of your safety plan, the Checker Software will provide you with many management tools for facility compliance audits, safety reviews, hazard assessments, and inspection processes that will ensure a higher degree of accuracy, effectiveness, and overall safety.

Topics: why inspect?, safety management, safety awareness, workplace safety, audit software

5 Benefits of Moving from a Paper-Based Inspection System to Inspection Software

Posted by Shawn Macpherson on Mon, Jun 25, 2018 @ 10:25 AM

5 benefits of moving from a paper based system

Even if a lot of today’s companies are using paper to conduct their daily business, the truth of the matter is that the current technological advancements are slowly but surely turning this material into something of the past. This transition will not happen overnight, mind you, but it is an ongoing process, nonetheless.

We live in a very fast-paced world, and almost everything under the sky is becoming digital, which means that everything is growing faster, easier to use and way more efficient. The benefits of inspection software far surpass the costs. They are a proven and profitable medium and long-term strategy for many company.

With that being said, here are five benefits of moving away from paper-based inspection systems to inspection software.

Storage Cost

The storage cost for inspection software is lower than paper-based inspection systems only because the entire logistic and bureaucratic processes are handled more effectively, making everything cheaper and more reliable in the process.. 

Instant Access to information

Now that almost everything is at a click away, why should our inspection procedures be any different? Paper-based inspection systems are harder to access at any time of day, as opposed to modern inspection software which is accessible from any part of the globe, day and night, 24/7. 

Ability to "Close the Loop" on Action Items

Closing the loop assures that a system or a process performs within controlled limits. This process can best be described as the most effective way of planning and monitoring in order to assure that the desired outputs are obtained. While this is also possible in a paper-based system, the inspection software comes with more benefits and it's easier to manage, considering that the amount of actions needed to achieve the desired results is reduced. Reducing the number of actions leads to reducing the chances of mistakes appearing throughout the entire closing the loop process.

Inspection software has a high capacity of being customized for the client's needs, offering the ability to "close the loop" on action items and a wide variety of other features which are, most of the times, easier to use than the classic paper-based inspection system.

Standardization of Inspection Checklists Across Locations

Uniformity across locations is one of the most significant problems encountered in the industry. It's extensive type work, and you need that special type of efficient employee who enjoys checking out all the little details to perfection. It requires a lot of hours and attention, and it's one of the areas where mistakes are most likely to appear.

By using inspection software, anyone can quickly check in real time if the standardization of inspection checklists (for example) across various locations is being met. Unfortunately, this is something the old pen and paper can't do!

Transparency

When it comes to this line of work, facility compliance audits, safety reviews, hazard assessments, inspection processes and anything in between; transparency is critical. It's one of the first things somebody looks at, at the beginning of a proposal, collaboration or before signing a contract. Everyone transparently wants the facts and figures, accessible at any moment. It is where inspection software like The Checker Pro comes into play. 

The Checker Pro takes your inspection program to the next level with a revolutionary software solution, with the incorporated options of allowing you to add only those exact modules you require for your company.

The Checker Pro enables its users to connect on any Internet-connected tablet, smartphone, laptop, or desktop computer, on any iOS, Android, or Windows device. The software comes with pre-built features and flexible configurations and can be setup to meet any individual needs while reducing costs and allowing users to see and manage their entire operations all at a click of a button.

Topics: why inspect?, safety management, inspection best practices, inspections and profitability, audit software

How Technology Can Improve Inspecting and Auditing

Posted by Shawn Macpherson on Mon, Jun 11, 2018 @ 09:29 AM

technology can improve inspecting and auditing

Today's working environment is being changed by the many technological advancements that have been taking place over the past several years. In fact, we are now going through the so-called 4th Industrial Revolution, pushed in large part by what is known as the Internet of Things (IoT). These technological innovations are merging the mechanical and digital into a single device that can be controlled remotely or even left alone to manage itself.

In its annual EHS Technology Trends Survey, Cority has looked at what are the 2018 EHS technology priorities. EHS professionals from over 25 countries and 12 industry verticals were asked what their priorities were going forward and their answers are indicative of the trends happening around the world.

“With the GDPR compliance deadline fast-approaching and ISO 45001 soon to be published, it’s no surprise that standardizing procedures is the number one priority for EHS leaders in 2018,” said Pam Bobbitt, Director of Product Marketing and Channels at Cority.

“All of the emerging tech trends explored in this survey are integral to operational excellence and maintaining a competitive advantage, but EHS leaders looking to kick-start 2018 program performance will focus on streamlining and standardization procedures within their EHS management systems.”

 

Inspection and Auditing Technologies

After standardizing procedures, on the number two spot came sharing data across EHS departments enterprise-wide. It then was followed by predictive analytics and EHS mobile functionality.

When it comes to inspection and auditing, in particular, mobility is a key feature that stands out. Mobile phones and tablets are becoming widespread in this industry as they offer the required versatility and efficiency needed to do the job correctly. Instead of relying on paper and clipboards, more and more inspectors are turning to tablets.

Various voice-to-text technologies are also working their way into the audit sector. These can significantly increase the productivity and efficiency of the inspector when conducting their investigation. Instead of having to write everything down, they can now dictate to their tablet what needs inclusion in the report.

Cloud-based software is another piece of technology that inspectors are using when conducting their business. The Checker Software will provide an inspector conducting an audit with plenty of benefits that no portion of paper could match. This software is highly more accurate than writing things down. 

It can generate immediate benefits such as faster, reliable communication of results; easy monitoring; instant creation of corrective action steps; as well as electronic document archiving for compliance and analysis purposes. Since it's cloud-based, the Checker Software is also easy to set up, with no substantial investments required. Nevertheless, it is a solution that will improve your efficiency and safety and is something that more and more managers are turning towards.

Takeaway

In short, technology is quickly changing the way businesses conduct their inspections and audits. As more EHS professionals are turning to these technologies in their day-to-day business, it is safe to say that the quality of audits and the results they will generate will be of a higher quality than ever before. There will be less room for error, more visible improvements, and fewer accidents overall.

Topics: why inspect?, safety management, inspection best practices, inspections and profitability, audit software

The Importance of Inspections for Compliance

Posted by Shawn Macpherson on Mon, Jun 04, 2018 @ 09:13 AM

The importance of inspections for compliance

It is always disheartening to hear news about various workplace disasters. It is also during this time that questions begin to arise – question such as what happened, who is to blame, and could this have been avoided? It is no surprise that regulatory safety inspections will improve the safety of employees. Inspections should be an essential for any organization, regardless of their field of business.  

These inspections have several specific functions that include:

  • Identifying already existing or potentially hazardous conditions
  • Determining the underlying causes of those hazards
  • Monitoring hazard controls
  • Recommending corrective action that could address each issue at hand
  • Listening to concerns from workers and supervisors
  • Offering a further understanding of jobs and tasks from safety standards. 

The truth is, some managers are concerned about the organizational costs that revolve around compliance, opting instead to risk going without a safety inspection in the hopes that nothing wrong will happen. 

Nevertheless, statistics show that inspections lower the risk of an accident or an injury by 23%, even after three years. Random checks were shown to work equally as well, reducing the risk of injuries by 9% and, even more striking, the reduction of costs of reported injuries by up to 26%. 

The following factors usually dictate the frequency of these inspections:

  • National or regional legislation.
  • New processes and machinery that haven't been inspected
  • Past accidents or other incidents
  • The number and size of work operations
  • The type of equipment and work process

The Importance of Regulatory Inspections

There are several reasons why such regular inspections are right for an organization. For starters, failing to comply with safety standards can attract a hefty fine. If something terrible happens, that fine could be even higher. 

Secondly, there is a matter of reputation. No company is looking forward to appearing on the news when something wrong happens. It will attract unwanted publicity that will flag an organization for some time. 

The health and safety of your employees are also at play here. Even a minor accident such as a trip or a fall can lead to a severe accident which can put that employee in the hospital. When such an accident does occur within an organization, a company-wide drop in morale usually follows. 

Last but not least is a case of lost revenue. This will take on different forms, depending on the exact circumstances. Lost revenue after an accident or injury comes from reduced productivity as a result of lowered employee morale.

Negative media attention can also cause a reduction in sales or terms of partnership opportunities. Then, there is a matter of legal fees, fines, increased administrative costs related to the injury, damaged property, machinery, or tools, as well as the cost associated with a new hire - if applicable.  

Takeaway

Investing in regulatory inspections can and will increase revenue. If all goes well and these audits do their job, the day-to-day operations will run smoothly and without a hitch. But when accidents happen, there will be a significant disruption that will extend well beyond the incident itself. The company will spend considerable time of weeks or months to recover. A cloud-based piece of software, such as The Checker Software , will provide you with many valuable management tools for higher accuracy, effectiveness, and safety.

Topics: why inspect?, safety management, legal compliance, inspection best practices, inspections and profitability

5 Ways to Make Your Workplace Inspection Effective

Posted by Shawn Macpherson on Mon, May 28, 2018 @ 09:14 AM

5 way to make your workplace

Regular workplace inspections are essential in preventing all sorts of incidents, injuries, illnesses, property damages, or loss of revenue. There are some companies out there that for mainly financial reasons skip these inspections in the hopes of cutting on expenses. Unfortunately, however, this can only be considered a short-term solution at best or an accident waiting to happen, at worst.  

Only with a critical examination of the workplace enables business owners to save on costs, injury, and future liabilities. These inspections, if done professionally and regularly, will identify potential hazards, issue a corrective action, gain a deeper understanding of jobs and tasks performed, and listen to employee concerns. Here are five ways that will improve the effectiveness of your workplace inspection. 

1. Identifying Potentially Hazardous Situations

Every inspection needs to take a close look at all elements that comprise the workplace. It includes the who, what, where, when, and how. You should, nevertheless, pay extra close attention to such things as noise, lighting, temperature, vibration, and ventilation - elements that could develop into unsafe or unhealthy conditions down the line. Inspections also need to go out of the areas where work is regularly conducted, and extend to such places like the parking lot, locker rooms, rest area, etc. 

There are many types of workplace hazards that you need to look out for and classified as biological, chemical, ergonomic, physical, psychological, and safety hazards. Among them, there are things like inadequate machine guards or unsafe workplace conditions, viruses, bacteria, fungi, and parasites, repetitive and forceful movements, as well as prolonged awkward postures, improper or faulty equipment, noise, temperature, overwork, stress, or even violence. 

2. Listen to Employees Concerns

The employees most exposed to the day-to-day activities are the ones most qualified to address concerns. Their input will prove valuable in determining what areas need particular attention, as well as what improvements are necessary to streamline operations and increase productivity.

3. Identify Underlying Issues

When looking for health or safety issues within your workplace, you should not stop at just identifying them. Once such a hazard is detected, you should also try and look for any underlying issues that may have caused it firstly. Depending on the circumstances, these issues, if not identified, can result in the same problems to reappear. 

4. Report Everything to Management

Nothing should be left out or somehow swept under the rug, not during an inspection, or during every other day. The faster an issue is identified and reported, the easier and less costly it will be to fix. Whatever may seem out of the ordinary, potentially dangerous, or something that stifles productivity or wellbeing should be addressed as soon as possible, for everyone's benefit. 

5. Don't Just Say What's Wrong, Make Recommendations 

For a workplace inspection to be successful, it is not enough to merely point out what is wrong. Realistic solutions need to be brought forth to complete the circle and help improve conditions in the workplace.

Takeaway

Regular workplace inspections are not a drain on resources, as some managers may believe, but the exact opposite. They ensure that everything runs smoothly and without interruption, all the while keeping the workforce safe and productive. For an even more effective auditing process, consider The Checker Software , a fully integrated and scalable software solution.  

Topics: why inspect?, safety management, legal compliance, inspection best practices, inspections and profitability

Why You Should Inspect Cranes More Than You Have To

Posted by Shawn Macpherson on Wed, May 23, 2018 @ 09:51 AM

crane-3327878_1920

When I talk to management for companies that use cranes, I always ask, “Do you inspect your cranes?”

An answer I often here is, “Of course, we do. We inspect them when we get them. And we inspect them again every year, as required.”

Standards vary worldwide, but OSHA’s rules for the U.S. are illustrative. A company can be in compliance with OSHA’s regulations for overhead and gantry cranes by conducting only one complete crane inspection a year.  

OSHA does require operators to daily keep an eye out for:

  • Maladjustment of any operating mechanism that interferes with proper operation
  • Deterioration or leakage in lines, tanks, valves, drain pumps, and other parts of air or hydraulic systems
  • Hooks with deformation or cracks
  • Hoist chains that are worn, twisted, or stretched beyond manufacturer recommendations
  • Excessive wear of any component.

 

But these aren’t necessarily formal inspections (i.e., documented, with each component of the crane clearly passing or failing). A formal inspection of the hoist chains is required monthly, but the other “inspections” can be done by simply looking to make sure there are no issues.

Depending on the activity, severity of service, and environment, formal inspections may be required more often than annually, but in normal conditions, once a year satisfies OSHA’s requirements. That’s just not enough. Annual inspections may keep regulators off your back (as long as no incidents occur), but inspecting cranes that infrequently is simply bad business.

Regulations about crane inspections shouldn’t even have to be put into writing. They’re beyond common sense—like don’t walk in the middle of a busy road. The potential cost of a crane accident is so far beyond the labor involved in conducting very frequent and documented crane inspections that’s it’s not even a close decision.

With a few minutes of inspecting a day, using inspection checklists for cranes, you can ensure that crane operators are actually doing their daily inspections. Plus, the completed checklists serve as documents confirming “no negligence” if anything terrible does happen.

Heavy machines and heavy loads, with humans and property all around—much is at risk. Why not reduce that risk as much as possible?

Takeaway

When it comes to crane safety, doing only the minimum inspecting required is risky business.  Using inspection checklists to conduct frequent crane inspections pays off by protecting against the potentially enormous human suffering and financial costs associated with crane failures.

Topics: safety management, legal compliance, equipment maintenance, inspections and profitability, vehicle safety

Preparing for IIoT with Technology that Benefits You Now

Posted by Shawn Macpherson on Mon, Apr 30, 2018 @ 11:23 AM

industry-2496189_1920

The so-called “Internet of Things” is changing the way we live. 

The phrase essentially refers to everyday items—things you wear, vehicles, home appliances, etc.—that are connected to the internet. The Internet of Things allows consumers to wear health-monitoring devices, remotely control appliances in their home, and drive cars that always know where they are and what the traffic is like ahead. 

Eventually, virtually every physical aspect of our lives will be connected to the internet in some way. 

In industries such as manufacturing, the Internet of Things is often referred to as the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). The IIoT will have a transformative effect on how products are manufactured, sold, and distributed. Combined with emerging technologies such as machine learning and artificial intelligence, the IIoT will enable greater efficiencies than ever before possible as machines become increasingly “smart.” 

But what does this have to do with your operation now?  

Maybe not a lot, at the moment. For most businesses, the IIoT is still largely in the future. The technology is not yet evolved enough for widespread full-scale adoption of IIoT solutions 

But you can begin to prepare for the IIoT revolution. By adopting other computing technologies that can help you increase efficiencies and develop a company culture that’s technologically friendly, you can keep pace on the road toward technological transformation. 

For example, an area in which many companies can move forward technologically is their audits and inspections. Companies that are still using paper for their audits and inspections can adopt a software solution such as The Checker Software. 

You’ll gain immediate benefits, such as improved accuracy; faster, foolproof communication of results; instant creation of corrective action steps; easy monitoring of progress toward resolution; and automatic documentation archiving for compliance and analysis purposes. 

The Checker Software is cloud-based software that requires no complicated setup or major investment, but it is a solution that can immediately allow you to embrace technology to improve efficiency (and safety). 

The full potential of the IIoT may not be realized for years, but you don’t have to wait to begin taking advantage of technology. Steps such as implementing The Checker Software for audits and inspections can help you develop the technological mindset that will be necessary to succeed in the coming years. 

Takeaway 

Don’t wait for the maturation of the IIoT to begin looking for technological solutions to improve your business. Existing technology like The Checker Software can benefit you now, while helping you prepare you for the technology of the future. 

Topics: safety management, inspection software, equipment maintenance, vehicle safety, audit software

Are You Ready For Summer?

Posted by Shawn Macpherson on Wed, Apr 11, 2018 @ 09:33 AM

 

lawnmower-384589_1920

Many people think of summer as a time for vacations, enjoying the outdoors, and relishing the long, lazy days. 

But in some industries, such as construction and landscaping, summer is anything but a time to take it easy. Instead, it’s the busiest time of the year.  

That means that vehicles, equipment, and other assets that have gone unused during the cold months will be called upon again. 

Before they can be used, they will need to be inspected to ensure they’re in good, safe working order. And they’ll need to be regularly inspected as they’re used to ensure they continue to be safe and operate as they should. 

If you use inspection checklists such as The Checker to facilitate your inspections, now’s the time to order more if you don’t have them for the assets you’ll begin using again—or if you don’t have enough to get through the summer.  

The Checker inspection checklist books are designed to guide personnel through inspections of hundreds of different types of assets, with detail specific to each type of asset. They make it easier for personnel to conduct audits or inspections, while increasing accuracy and providing documentation of compliance with internal and regulatory standards. 

If the assets haven’t been inspected over the winter, The Checker can serve as a reminder of what to check for each asset. And for personnel who’ve never used the assets, the checklists can educate them about what needs to be checked. 

In those industries where summer is the busy season, there’s a lot to do to prepare for the heightened workload. Don’t forget about the inspecting you need to do, or the tools you need to do it the right way. 

Takeaway 

The Checker inspection checklists make it much easier to prepare assets for increased work during the warm part of the year. If you don’t have them in stock, order now.  

Topics: why inspect?, safety awareness, equipment maintenance, vehicle safety, equipment safety

Don't Wait For Problems - Solve Them!

Posted by Shawn Macpherson on Tue, Apr 03, 2018 @ 10:02 AM

 

safety-shoes“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” may be a wise saying in many cases. But not if it’s taken to mean, “If it ain’t broke, don’t do anything to it.”

Reactive maintenance—waiting for vehicles or equipment to break down before giving them maintenance attention—is clearly not the smart strategy. The short-term cost of providing routine, proactive preventive maintenance is almost always negligible compared to the costs of an on-the-job breakdown.

Just think about the last major breakdown your company had. Did you have any of these costs associated with it:

  • a more-expensive repair than if the problem had been detected earlier?
  • damage that could have been prevented?
  • production downtime?
  • overtime for repair or catching operations up to schedule?
  • penalties for falling behind schedule?
  • replacement equipment?
  • lost opportunity for other work?

Wouldn’t it have been far less expensive if you had detected the problem that caused the breakdown before the equipment broke down?

And preventive maintenance has other benefits in addition to minimizing the disruptions of breakdowns. Preventive maintenance also helps reduce costs by:

  • extending the useful life of assets
  • increasing energy efficiency
  • minimizing the risk of non-compliance with health and safety regulations
  • enabling lower-cost, bulk procurement of spare parts in advance
  • allowing for the alignment of scheduled maintenance with downtime and slower production periods.

If you do an honest assessment of your maintenance program and determine it’s mostly reactive, the good news is that you have an ideal opportunity to significantly improve your business.

 

The Role of Inspections

As you seek to lower maintenance costs with a preventive strategy, it’s important to understand that preventive maintenance involves more than the maintenance department. Preventive maintenance requires company-wide policies and processes that identify issues before they escalate into more-costly problems.

Audits and inspections are a primary component of this proactive approach. Not only do they identify defects earlier than waiting for a breakdown, they provide insight into the cause of recurring problems so they can be corrected (e.g., if defects repeatedly occur after a specific operation, you can look to determine if there’s a way to improve the operation to prevent the defects from occurring).  

Inspection checklists are a tool that empowers all personnel responsible for inspecting assets to play a vital role in preventive maintenance. Checklists such as those in The Checker inspection books or The Checker Software guide personnel as they conduct inspections, ensuring that they check everything that needs to be inspected. All defects will be discovered early, when they can be addressed less expensively.

The Role of Management

Management support of preventive maintenance is essential for the strategy to work. Preventive policies and procedures must be followed, and without management support that adherence becomes far less likely. For example, if personnel aren’t mandated to correctly complete inspection checklists, there’s a good chance they won’t.

Unfortunately, management often views maintenance as a cost—not as an opportunity to cut costs. This view leads to short-sighted decisions such as cutting the current maintenance budget rather than seeking a solution to permanently lower maintenance costs.

On the other hand, management that understands the long-term cost savings of preventive maintenance can give their company a meaningful competitive advantage over companies still in a reactive mode.

Takeaway

Reactive maintenance results in costs that could be avoided. Preventive maintenance tools such as inspection checklists help a company eliminate these costs and run a more-efficient maintenance program.

Topics: workplace safety, OSHA, inspections and profitability, safety audits, audit software