The Checker Blog

Shawn Macpherson

Recent Posts

Beyond Pass or Fail: Grading Audit and Inspection Results

Posted by Shawn Macpherson on Fri, Apr 12, 2019 @ 03:46 PM

Sometimes you have to give grades when workplace safety and asset maintenance are involved.

A pass or fail scoring system can be useful in numerous situations. If all that’s needed is a simple thumbs-up or thumbs-down, a pass-fail scoring system gets the job done.

But it’s not always as simple as “yes” or “no.” In certain situations, more detail is needed, and pass/fail will not suffice. If we are to look at safety, for example, basic inspections can work on a pass-fail basis. But when we move on to more-thorough investigations and audits, inspectors need the ability to determine and quantify the degree to which an asset complies with safety standards. 

By grading deficiencies with a score from 1 to 10 on audit or inspection forms, business owners and personnel will be much better suited to prioritize any issues for correction that may arise.

That’s why we included scoring capability in The Checker Software

Using The Checker Software Scoring Feature 

This scoring system doesn't have to be from 1 to 10. You can configure any scoring scale that makes the most sense for you and your assets. It’s an easy-to-use feature. Users select the right scoring system from a drop-down menu, and the system will calculate the total score for every asset and provide a percentage score. 

To further optimize the system, you can add definitions to every scoring level (e.g., excellent condition, usable but needs maintenance, needs repair before use).

You can also add comments, documents, and images to further clarify the score given (e.g., a comment that tires on a vehicle don’t need to be replaced yet but probably will next quarter, with supporting photos showing their condition).

Takeaway

The Checker Software allows you to create and edit whatever scoring systems will fit your needs best—or use the pass-fail system if that’s all that’s required. Whatever option you choose, The Checker will help you optimize the process.

Topics: inspection checklists, inspection software, risk assessments, audit software, inspection forms, audit/inspection software

Playing "Russian Roulette" in the Workplace

Posted by Shawn Macpherson on Fri, Apr 05, 2019 @ 07:00 AM

 

Don't play "Russian Roulette" by optimistically hoping nothing awful happens because of unsafe workplace practices.

Russian Roulette is a lethal game of chance where a single round is placed in a revolver, the cylinder is spun, and the player sets the muzzle against his or her head and pulls the trigger. Without rotating the barrel of a six-chamber pistol after every pull, the average number of tries before the bullet discharges is 3.5

Based on these odds, why do some people still play this deadly game in the first place? In many cases, it’s because the players have a death wish. But for some daredevils, the reason is simply optimism bias

The Optimism Bias

This bias is merely one of the many cognitive biases most people experience on a day-to-day basis. These represent various errors in rational judgment, driven by a person’s subjective interpretation of reality. Humans naturally are drawn by the allure of a cohesive narrative of the events happening around them. We constantly simplify things, cherry-pick information, and in some cases, overestimate the success rate of our endeavours.

This optimism starts in childhood and follows us well into adulthood. In the Western world, children are taught from a very young age to have a positive outlook on life, which is generally a good thing but can also lead to optimism bias. 

It's because of this bias that we tend to discount the statistical likelihood of tragic accident or illness occurring to a loved one or ourselves. when a loved one is involved in an accident or diagnosed with a severe illness. The optimism bias is what makes smokers and gamblers disregard the statistics and keep with their vices. It's also why it’s so hard for people to change their behaviour when faced with a relatively slow-moving trend such as climate change. And it's why some play Russian Roulette. They skew or disregard the facts so they can maintain their personal and optimistic narrative about themselves. 

Not Doing Regular Audits and Inspections

When it comes to business settings, an equivalent of Russian Roulette (optimism bias) is not doing regular safety audits and inspections. In 2017, there were a total of 5,147 fatal work injuries recorded in the United States. That’s the equivalent of 3.5 deaths per 100,000 full-time employees and about 14 work-related fatalities per day. 

Some managers, executives, and even employees tend to disregard these numbers and gamble with their safety and the security of others on a day-to-day basis. This apparent shortsightedness is a clear example of overestimating one's odds and believing that bad things can only happen to others. But as like with Russian Roulette, it only takes one bad luck of the draw to bring that entire subjective optimism crashing down into demographic reality.   

The Checker Software is a cloud-based mobile audit and inspection software designed to optimize and streamline workplace safety procedures. It ensures that no safety procedures are skipped or forgotten and it generates reports, analyzes data, identifies hazards, and spots developing safety- or maintenance-related trends, significantly decreasing the risk of accident and workflow disruptions in the organization.

Takeaway

Russian Roulette is a terrible “game” with extreme risk—just as neglecting workplace safety is a unnecessarily dangerous path that can lead to tragedy and loss.

Topics: why inspect?, inspection software, audit software, audit/inspection software

The Relationship Between Compensation and Safety Adherence

Posted by Shawn Macpherson on Tue, Apr 02, 2019 @ 07:15 AM

 

Finding a way to relate personnel's compliance to safety policies is an effective way to encourage workplace safety.

Safety in the workplace is an essential aspect of any organization. But in the hopes of saving money, some business owners feel tempted to not follow government safety regulations, such as those from the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) or the Ontario Ministry of Labour

This approach is short-sighted at best, since compliance with these safety policies will not only help safeguard against costly accidents, injuries, and property damages, it can avoid significant fines and, in some cases, even criminal charges,

It's also important to remember that in addition to the initial costs of an accident (fines, legal fees, civil claims, etc.), a company will also have to deal with indirect costs, which are usually several times more than the direct costs and can sometimes be more than 10 times higher.

But no matter how dedicated a business owner is to complying with safety regulations, if the company’s employees aren't willing or able to follow them, all of management's efforts will be in vain. In the end, it's the employees who are at the frontlines, making them an integral part of the day-to-day application of any safety policies. 

Some employees may be oblivious of the risks they subject themselves to by not following safety protocols, while others may disregard them so they can finish their work faster. Whatever the case, any employer needs to find ways to incentivize personnel to follow safety procedures and stay in line with regulatory standards.

Compensation for Safety Adherence

Of course, one of the most efficient ways of incentivizing personnel is to include safety adherence in decisions about how much to monetarily compensate an employee. A safety-adherence compensation program can be tailored to any company's structure and way of doing things, but regardless of the company’s unique needs,  personnel should be rewarded for good behaviour as well as a smooth and streamlined execution of specific safety protocols.  

The Checker Software is the perfect tool to implement such a program. It has numerous features, including the tracking and management of safety activities. If your employees are using The Checker Software during their daily safety inspections, the software will generate reports, telling you about their actions and how well they adhered to safety policies and procedures. 

The software allows for personal reminders, alerts, and notifications—ensuring that every safety check is carried out at the right time. 

Nothing will slip through the cracks or go unnoticed, allowing you to implement your safety-adherence compensation program to great effect. In addition, The Checker Software will enable personnel to detect and report potential risk hazards. You can incentivize them to do so, making them go one step beyond and become proactive in increasing workplace safety.

Takeaway

Companies have many reasons—and ways—to encourage employee compliance with safety policies and procedures that adhere to regulatory standards. Including safety compliance in compensation decisions is one of the best methods for this encouragement. The Checker Software enables management to easily track this compliance.

For more information about The Checker Pro, please visit our website or email us at info@thechecker.net.

 

Topics: safety management, OSHA, inspection management, inspections and profitability, risk assessments, safety audits, audit software, audit/inspection software

How Are Investments in Safety Similar to Infrastructure Spending?

Posted by Shawn Macpherson on Mon, Mar 25, 2019 @ 07:00 AM

safety like infrastructure

Executives, managers, supervisors, and other individuals in leadership positions sometimes put safety procedures and protocols in the last place in order to expedite projects. Some even go as far as disregarding it completely. Why?

Generally, it all has to do with their bottom line. Many people in leadership are concerned about profits first and everything else second. While this method of operating a business may generate some short-term benefits, it will prove to be a total disaster down the line.

The Infrastructure Analogy

To understand why this is, it’s illustrative to look at safety in the workplace in the same way as maintaining a country's infrastructure, which is generally comprised of public (and sometimes private) physical improvements such as roads, bridges, tunnels, railroads, sewers, water supply, power plants, electrical grids, telecommunications, etc.

In a business setting, “infrastructure” is composed of a company’s vehicles, equipment, and other assets. It's safe to say that a business cannot function without these things, just as a country's economy will not thrive without a well-established infrastructure.

But as most of us know, the infrastructure itself isn't enough for a country to run smoothly. That infrastructure also needs to be maintained. The problem is that the benefits of this maintenance usually aren't clearly visible. By definition, maintenance is essentially ensuring that things remain the same.

That’s why lawmakers often avoid these infrastructure investment, realizing that the public will not be aware of its effects and will not give them credit for it. It's only when a car-packed bridge collapses or a river dam bursts that the importance of infrastructure maintenance becomes apparent.

The same thing happens with safety in the workplace. Business leaders are more interested in profits and expediting projects (visible effects) than prioritizing safety in the workplace (maintenance).

Both infrastructure and safety are too often seen as a given, and only after severe damage is done, will they be given any attention.

Streamlining Safety

To counteract this problem, the best approach is to streamline safety procedures and make them as unobtrusive as possible in the day-to-day operations of your business. For this purpose, The Checker Software is highly effective— designed to optimize safety audits and inspections without any disruption to the business. This cloud-based software can be used on any device with an internet connection, streamlining safety procedures even further.

The Checker Software makes use of an extensive library of hundreds of ready-to-use checklists for a large variety of vehicles, equipment, and other assets. Checklists can also be easily customized to fit every organization's unique needs.

The Checker Software sends out personal reminders, notifications, and alerts, red-flagging any non-compliance issues and ensuring that nothing will slip between the cracks. It will also automatically compile safety reports, sending them to designated recipients (maintenance, management, safety personnel, customers, etc.).

And thanks to the software's analytics and archiving capabilities, users can analyze data, spot developing trends, gain business insights, and maintain a historical record of all inspection and audit activity. 

Takeaway

Just like maintaining national infrastructure, a company’s safety efforts may not be “sexy.” But safety is essential to the long-term well-being of a company, and The Checker Software is a powerful tool in being as safe as possible.

Topics: safety management, safety awareness, inspection software, equipment maintenance, vehicle safety, equipment safety, safety audits, audit software, audit/inspection software

Why Is Equipment an Asset, Not Just a Tool?

Posted by Shawn Macpherson on Wed, Mar 13, 2019 @ 12:01 PM

assets

In companies that use heavy equipment, personnel tend to view that equipment as nothing more than a tool to get the job done.

But it’s more than a tool. To correctly understand the value and importance of any piece of heavy equipment, you must consider it as an asset. It is a resource that has an economic value for the organization that owns it—a resource that should provide future benefits down the line.

Heavy equipment is a long-term asset—in both accounting and practical terms. It’s not only  essential to get the job done, it has financial value. The more you take care of these assets, the better they will serve, and the more value they will generate over the long-term. 

When people and organizations look at their equipment as simple tools, they are more likely to abuse that equipment, use if for tasks it wasn’t designed for, and not give it the proper care, attention, and maintenance it requires.

The result? Lower life expectancy of the equipment asset, loss of value, and equipment that’s not as efficient as it should be.

Audits and Inspections Maximize an Asset’s Value

To maximize your equipment's value and ensure productivity in the workplace, conduct regular audits and inspections. They will guarantee your assets are kept in tip-top shape, thereby protecting their value. And they help you to not get caught off-guard by malfunctions that can disrupt day-to-day operations.

Takeaway

Audits and inspections protect the value of pieces of heavy equipment, which are assets that are well worth protecting.

The Checker Software is the perfect tool for these audits and inspections.

 

For more information on the Checker software, please feel free to visit The Checker website or contact us directly at 905.825.0172 or info@thechecker.net. 

 

Topics: why inspect?, equipment maintenance, inspections and profitability

Checklists: A Universal Tool in Life

Posted by Shawn Macpherson on Wed, Feb 27, 2019 @ 03:05 PM

Checklists make any job, project, or event be completed more correctly and smoothly.

Many people look at checklists as something tedious and boring. But when we use them, we quickly come to realize their efficiency.

Why? Because, as human beings, we tend to forget things. 

That’s particularly true when doing something that involves multiple steps. By using checklists, we ensure we won’t forget anything. And in addition to making sure we get things right, lists help in other ways.

For starters, a checklist will save you a lot of time. You no longer must remember every step or item on the list, so you can devote your full attention to the task at hand, as well as use your brainpower to be more productive and creative  in whatever you're doing. 

Second, you can delegate your tasks more comfortably with the use of a checklist. You can simply hand your list to the person to whom you’re assigning the responsibility, and they’ll understand what they have to do and how that fits with other steps in the checklist.

Very importantly, checklists also provide accountability for every stage of a job, project, or event. You know who’s done what.

Common Types of Everyday Checklists

Personal checklists

These checklists can take on many shapes and sizes. Grocery lists, cleaning lists, getting-ready-for-vacation lists—these checklists and others like them always come in handy. They're extremely useful in getting things done and keeping organized daily.

Project-based Checklists

Checklists are a great tool to keep you on track with a project. They help teams and individuals stay on track and finish every step promptly. They ensure that nothing slips through the cracks, that nothing is swept under the rug, and that everyone involved is accountable. 

Priority Checklists

Like their name suggests, priority checklists prioritize the tasks within them. They work by providing users with the overall picture, but also with what elements require preference over the others based on a scoring system.

The Importance of Safety Checklists

As far as safety is concerned, regular inspections are a must. If NOT done regularly and adequately, accidents are only a matter of time. Some of the biggest disasters of the past decade could have been averted if proper and comprehensive safety inspections were carried out. 

With The Checker Software, you can use a mobile device such as a tablet or smartphone and determine what needs checking—and how to best do it. These checklists can be accessed from any internet-connected device and, once completed, they can be submitted to automatically generate corrective actions, prove compliance, and analyze patterns.

Nothing will go unnoticed; everyone will be held accountable, potential hazards will be immediately identified, and the risk of an accident will be significantly diminished.

Takeaway

Checklists come in many forms and are used for countless purposes in everyday life. In business, checklists are a tool to improve safety, compliance, productivity, and profitability.

Topics: safety management, inspection checklists, audit software, audit/inspection software

No Reason to Fear Safety Non-compliance

Posted by Shawn Macpherson on Thu, Feb 21, 2019 @ 07:30 AM

Companies within the United States that do not follow the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations are opening themselves up to all sorts of non-compliance fines.

In the developed world, most countries have similar regulations. These regulations are straightforward, and the cost of non-compliance is clear. 

Types of OSHA Violations

De Minimis – This is the least severe type of violation, with no real impact on health or safety. OSHA does not issue fines for these kinds of breaches

Other-than-serious  This is an offence that is related to health or safety but would not directly result in severe injury or death. One such example is the failure to post required safety documentation in the work area. Substantial fines result.

Serious These types of violations are issued when an employer is aware of a potential hazard that poses a health or safety risk to the employees but does nothing about it. Substantial fines result.

Willful – This level of violation is issued when there’s an intentional violation of OSHA standards. If it results in an employee killed, there’s possible jail time in addition to fines.

Failure to Abate Companies have a set amount of time to fix problems they were cited. If they fail to do so in that time, fines accrue and criminal charges are likely.

Indirect Costs Associated with Non-Compliance Violations

Aside from fines and criminal liability, employers also have to face the legal costs to settle civil claims, as well as business disruption and negative reputation costs.

According to a survey conducted by the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE), every dollar spent on direct costs and fines related to an accident results in an additional $3-$10 in indirect costs. 

A Comprehensive Inspection Program

Fortunately, these risks can be minimized.

A well-thought-out, comprehensive safety inspection program, implemented using The Checker Software, will increase a company's worker safety and comply with all mandatory regulations. 

This software—which can be used on any mobile device—can manage inspections and audits, identify hazards, and provide corrective and preventive actions. It can relieve you of any anxiety about non-compliance and pave the way to a safe workplace.

Topics: safety management, OSHA, legal compliance, inspection software, inspection management, audit/inspection software

Three Historical Disasters Due to Inspection Failure

Posted by Shawn Macpherson on Thu, Feb 14, 2019 @ 02:10 PM

It pays to look for problems that could led to workplace disasters.

Things don't always go as planned. Accidents are an all-too-common occurrence that can negatively impact businesses of all types and sizes.

Safety inspections can prevent these accidents from happening!

Nonetheless, many business owners prefer to risk cutting corners, hoping to save some time and money in the process. This is a slippery slope that often leads to disaster.

Consider these infamous examples:

The 2018 New York Limo Crash

In October 2018, a stretch limousine plowed through an intersection in upstate New York. Twenty people were killed—17 passengers, two pedestrians, and the driver. This accident is considered to be the deadliest U.S. transportation disaster since 2009, and it made headlines across the world.

The police investigation found that the limo failed a safety inspection earlier that month. (The driver also didn't have the right license to drive it.) 

The 2017 Grenfell Tower Fire in London

On June 14, 2017, a fire broke out at around 1 a.m. in a 24-story apartment block in West London known as the Grenfell Tower. The fire raged for 24 hours, but it took over 60 hours to fully extinguish it. Seventy people died in the fire, and another two victims died at the hospital. Another 70 people were injured.

With material damages estimated at between 200 million and one billion pounds, the Grenfell Tower is the deadliest structural fire in the United Kingdom since 1988 and the worst residential fire in the U.K. since World War II. 

The building underwent significant exterior renovations in 2015-16, including rain-screen cladding that later proved to be highly flammable. Both residents and an official report mentioned safety concerns about the building—before the fire.

To make matters worse, the first fire brigade incident commander admitted he failed to make numerous safety checks before the disaster, stating that he didn't know fire could spread through the cladding. 

The 2010 Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill

Also known as the BP oil disaster, the Deepwater Horizon oil spill—which began with an explosion on April 20, 2010, in the Gulf of Mexico—is considered to be the largest marine oil spill in history. Even after two years of being declared sealed on September 19, 2010, reports indicated that oil was still leaking. Eleven people died and 17 were severely injured in the accident. Countless people along the Gulf's U.S. coast were negatively affected.

An investigation by the U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) revealed that Deepwater Horizon personnel did perform regular inspections on components necessary for day-to-day drilling operations. But they didn’t conduct regular checks on the emergency systems used to identify latent failures. If they had, the disaster likely could have been avoided. 

Takeaway

Proper, regular safety inspections could have prevented these three disasters, and they can keep similar tragedies from happening in your organization.

Topics: safety management, safety awareness, workplace safety, inspection management

What Can You Audit or Inspect With The Checker Software? Almost Anything

Posted by Shawn Macpherson on Fri, Feb 08, 2019 @ 08:00 AM

There's no limit to what you can inspect or audit using our comprehensive audit/inspection software solution.

Since 2000, The Checker has provided checklist books used for various equipment inspections such as forklifts, cranes, machinery, vehicles, and other such heavy commercial equipment. The company produces the best checklist books available for inspecting these assets.

The Checker now also provides online checklists that can be used on mobile devices. The Checker Software can be used for almost anything that has a list of items that can be audited or inspected. This includes virtually all types of assets, processes, environmental conditions, etc.  

For example, consider municipal public works department deals with many diverse functions, including construction, park maintenance, trash collection, and public safety. Traditionally, such an organization would have to deal with an overwhelming number of procedures and forms. With The Checker's format, however, every function the department is responsible for can be inspected and audited, with each checklist tailored to each specific function. 

Anything that needs to be inspected our audited can be added to a checklist. You can then carry a mobile device through the facility, be it a smartphone or tablet, and The Checker Software will help you determine what you need to check and how to do it. 

You will fill out the checklist on your device, and the data will be automatically compiled and sent to the appropriate people for further examination. The checklist will be customized based on the exact inspection or auditing processes you use.  

The order in which the items are listed is a key to how useful a checklist is. These items shouldn't be based on alphabetical order or something similar. They should be listed based on the logical approach of the audit or inspection itself.

Checklists can be accessed from any device that has an internet connection. You can immediately submit the results for further analysis, allowing you to track your assets and personnel better, as well as identify new trends, hazards, and other indices that matter to your business.

Takeaway

The Checker Software allows you to inspect or audit virtually anything and coordinate an inspection program in the exact way that suits your company best. For more information on The Checker, visit our website or contact us directly. 

Topics: inspection software, mobile inspections, audit software, audit/inspection software

What Makes a Good Inspection Checklist?

Posted by Shawn Macpherson on Thu, Jan 31, 2019 @ 03:00 PM

A good inspection checklist is easy to use.

Inspections and audits act as the foundation for every safety program out there. They’re how companies can gather the necessary insight to discover potential hazards, equipment malfunctions, improper staff training, or unsafe working conditions, to name a few. 

Despite this fact, many organizations look at inspections and audits as a sort of necessary evil, just for the sake of regulatory compliance. Consequently, they often cut corners or turn a blind eye to poor inspection procedures. 


The Actual Benefits of a Good Inspection Checklist

When a comprehensive inspection checklist is put together, it will contain all the necessary details for every individual asset. It needs to be simple and easy-to-use in the field but not at the expense of becoming too generic. 

When appropriately designed, inspection checklists can be done either on paper or digitally, using mobile devices and cloud-based software. An advantage of a digital checklist is its many functionalities. The Checker Software, for instance, will analyze the data, compile reports, highlight trends, identify long-term inconsistencies, and provide alerts or notifications, among many other things. It will ensure that nothing goes unnoticed or slips through the cracks. 

All of these benefits ultimately help a company’s bottom line while supporting the well-being of personnel. A good inspection checklist will be able to:

  • Minimize project delays and unproductivity
  • Lower maintenance costs
  • Reduce recurring problems
  • Prevent the use of unsafe assets, thus reducing employee injury
  • Discourage the improper or abusive use of assets
  • Help determine ideal maintenance schedules
  • Maximize scheduling productivity
  • Budget for downtime
  • Better evaluate asset quality. 

Important Aspects of the Checklist Design

It's important to keep in mind that poorly designed inspection checklists will not be taken seriously by staff members. Lists that aren't detailed enough or are not asset-specific are generally viewed as additional paperwork that needs to be done solely for the sake of regulation.  

What's more, these inferior inspection checklists will not provide many of the benefits mentioned above. So, when creating a sound inspection checklist, you should make sure to include the following aspects:

  • It should include a checkbox for every part of the asset that is essential for its safe and productive use.
  • The inspection checklist also needs to clearly state which exact problems will make that asset inoperable, as well as what issues need to be red-flagged for maintenance.
  • Checkboxes need to be listed in a logical and intuitive order, thus helping to streamline the inspection process. Listing them in alphabetical order, for instance, will force operators to waste precious time going back and forth searching for the right box to check. 
  • The overall design of the inspection checklist needs to be simple, easy to read, and easy to understand.

Takeaway

With the Checker Software, you can create your checklist format in accordance with your assets and needs. You will also have access to the many added benefits a digital inspection tool can provide. For more information, visit our website or contact us directly.

Topics: inspection checklists, inspection software, inspection basics, inspection management, inspection best practices, audit software