The Checker Blog

Shawn Macpherson

Recent Posts

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

Why It's Time to Begin Using Software to Audit and Inspect Your Assets

Posted by Shawn Macpherson on Tue, Jan 22, 2019 @ 07:40 AM

Audits and inspections can be done more efficiently and effectively with software designed specifically for that purpose.

Mobile technology has become almost synonymous with the 21st century. Digital and mobile technology have changed the business landscape virtually beyond recognition. Despite these trends, some companies are still operating with paper-based processes.

When it comes to asset audits and inspections, paper still makes sense in certain situations—such as when you are inspecting a remote facility or job site outside of any internet range. But most companies can benefit tremendously from audit/inspection software. 

Some companies are already using software for this purpose, but it’s essentially nothing more than e-forms unconnected to any system. Other organizations use ERP or other software that has an audit/inspection function but isn’t designed specifically for that purpose. These software “solutions” have some advantages over paper-based audit/inspection processes, but they don’t help users make the most of the information that’s being gathered.  

Where Should You Begin Implementing Audit/Inspection Software?

Safety in the workplace is an essential aspect for the well-being and smooth functioning of an organization. It's always advisable to make use of state-of-the-art technologies to help you achieve this task.

Audit/inspection software such as The Checker Software has numerous capabilities that far surpass paper-based audits and inspections. However, somewhat paradoxically, these many capabilities make it difficult to decide where to focus initial software implementation efforts.

The answer, however, is somewhat simple and straightforward. You should begin this implementation in the areas where audits and inspections will have the most significant impact on your costs and risk.

Regardless of what these areas are, audit/inspection software should be able to forward all results gathered to the appropriate personnel and notify them via alerts, emails, notifications, etc. The software should also be able to initiate corrective actions, report on progress, archive all data, and provide configurable dashboards for automatic reporting.

Scoring capabilities, allowing you to rate the severity of a problem or defect, can also be highly valuable.

Takeaway

Audit and inspection processes stand at the foundation of every comprehensive safety program. In addition to ensuring that you comply with regulations, these procedures will help you identify and correct problems before they can lead to accidents and costs. 

The Checker Software provides all of the above and more. It's a versatile tool that can be used remotely or in-office from any device connected to the internet. For more information, feel free to visit our website or contact us directly. 

Topics: mobile inspections, inspections and profitability, facility audits, audit software, audit/inspection software

How to Make a Comprehensive Safety Program Work

Posted by Shawn Macpherson on Fri, Jan 11, 2019 @ 01:30 PM

A comprehensive safety program with regular inspections can keep personnel safe and provide many ancillary benefits.

When talking about workplace safety, most businesses think they’re at least above average. But if they were to look at the details and how equipment operates in the field on a day-to-day basis, the reality may prove to be somewhat different

Most managers are aware that safety programs help minimize work-related injuries or sudden equipment failures, as well as the inherent costs that come attached to these issues. But some are still unaware of the short-term, bottom-line benefits of safety. 

Workers may be inclined to skip on safety procedures so they can finish their work faster. Some managers may turn a blind eye to this because it's easy to take safety for granted when accidents aren't happening.

If work-related accidents (even small ones) are a fairly common occurrence, or the equipment tends to break unexpectedly, you need a comprehensive safety program. 

Key Components of a Comprehensive Safety Program

Regular safety inspections and audits

The foundation of every safety program lies with regular inspections and audits. These forms of data collection help companies detect any problems before they can result in an accident or malfunction.

Inspection tools

Personnel need to be supplied with the resources to conduct audits and inspections accurately and efficiently. For example, The Checker Software allows safety inspectors to identify trends or problems that may require additional safety measures. 

Training

Regular safety audits and inspections will bring to light any unsafe activity by personnel. You can use this information for training purposes, focusing on areas that may need improvement. 

Additional Benefits of Safety

Maintenance

Analyzing audit and inspection data will reveal long-term patterns about the likelihood of when assets will break down. You can use this information to predict wear and develop preventive maintenance strategies to counteract the issues. 

Business Processes

Audits and inspections will also point to issues causing assets to fail prematurely. For example, if a piece of equipment breaks down every time within the next month after using it for a specific operation, it's safe to conclude that personnel might be using that equipment wrong when performing that function. There could, of course, be other causes of the problem but at least you were made aware of the correlation. 

Takeaway

There isn't a one-size-fits-all approach to a comprehensive safety program. Each company needs to develop its program based on its individual needs. But in every case, a tool such as The Checker Software can serve as the foundation for your safety program. For more information, contact us directly.

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

What You Didn't Know Inspection Software Could Do

Posted by Shawn Macpherson on Thu, Dec 27, 2018 @ 03:25 PM

Audit/inspection software can be used to get more out of audits and inspections, for less cost.

Regular workplace audits and inspections are essential for every business looking to prevent all sorts of work-related incidents, illnesses, property damage, injuries, or loss of revenue. Software can be a powerful tool in conducting these audits and inspections.

Some businesses opt to skip out on regular inspections, hoping to save on expenses. But as time has shown repeatedly, companies that do not take their safety seriously always draw the short straw.

Many other businesses that conduct regular audits and inspections do so in the traditional way—namely, on paper. And while there is nothing wrong with paper, it has some shortcomings, especially when compared to software. 

For starters, there's the storage cost of paper. Then there's the question of access to information. With a paper-based inspection system, users will physically have to find information. With modern inspection software, the data can be easily retrieved at any time.   

There's also the issue of standardization across numerous locations, which is much easier to achieve with software and leaves far less room for error than pen and paper. And don’t forget about transparency. Reports are commonly the first thing to be looked at when there is a proposal offering, collaboration opportunity, or contract to evaluate,. And these reports are much easier to generate and are more accurate with software.

Five Things Software Can Do That You May Not Be Aware Of

Let's take a look at some other, less-obvious features that audit/inspection software can provide. 

Auto-Populating

Auto-populating information so that you don't have to rewrite it yourself is a useful feature of software. It saves time and reduces errors in your process.

Reminders

This simple, yet incredibly useful feature is something paper-based systems will never be able to do. The automated reminder system will let your staff know when the next audit or inspection is scheduled, what other tasks remain for each, or other such similar issues, ensuring that nothing slips through the cracks. 

Point-Scoring Models

Audit and inspection software like The Checker allows users to assign scores to items, rather than simply passing or failing them.

Notifications

An entire year is a long time, and annual audits and inspections can easily escape your mind. But with software, you can schedule notifications.

Red-Flagging Compliance Items

You can design your audit/inspection software to red-flag compliance items that would block audits and inspections from being completed.

Takeaway

While these features may seem intuitive and straightforward, they are nevertheless crucial elements that will ensure the safety of your workplace and prevent anything from slipping through the cracks. With these features in place, there will be less room for error, more visible improvements, and fewer accidents overall. For more information on what audit and inspection software can achieve, visit our website or contact us directly.

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

Five Ways to Make Your Workplace Safer

Posted by Shawn Macpherson on Thu, Dec 27, 2018 @ 08:30 AM

really good resuable with books with titles

Never undervalue workplace safety. A proactive approach to safety has many benefits and many risks and liabilities if you don't. A safety mindset can increase production, reduce costs, lower the risk of accidents, boost morale, and streamline operations. On the other side, however, if you decide to forsake workplace safety in favor of short-term profits, you may end up losing both.   

These five elements of a safe work environment are easily achievable by both big and small business.

Employee Training

Safety policies and procedures aren’t enough to ensure a safe workspace. The employer alone can’t guarantee workplace safety. Everyone in the organization should be trained in the importance of safety and their role in maintaining a safe workplace.

Nobody wants to get hurt or see their colleagues get hurt. But people generally have the impression that work-related accidents only happen in other places, to other people. This thinking leads to complacency, and that's precisely when accidents happen. Good training can  impart the safety attitude necessary to guard against this complacency.

Safety in Stages

Workplace safety almost always happens in stages. Usually employers originate the idea of protection. It’s what's known as the adoption stage. Once ownership and management have adopted a safety mindset, that mindset will spread throughout the company. but too often employees are acting safely simply because they’re instructed to.  what they're instructed to. This stage can’t go on indefinitely.

Next comes the engagement stage, when everyone genuinely buys in. It becomes part of the culture—let’s keep each other safe.

Available Resources

It costs money to implement and uphold safety. That’s the exact reason why some businesses decide to cut corners or renounce on safety altogether. Nevertheless, by doing so, all of these businesses—by not investing in safety—inevitably end up paying more in the long term than what they managed to save in the short term.

Smart organizations provide the resources to be safe.

Effective Response to Reported Hazards

Hazards in the workplace range from seemingly simple hazards (poor housekeeping, working in confined spaces, etc.) up to dangerous chemicals, exposed electrical wiring, and other such extremely dangerous (potentially fatal) issues.

Even if identified, most of these hazards go unfixed over prolonged periods, making them increasingly dangerous. That’s why you need audit/inspection software such as The Checker Software, which instantly emails action items to the people who need to be involved in remedying the hazard.

Leadership by Example

The workplace won’t be safe if the organization’s leaders “talk the talk but don’t walk the walk.”  It’s not wearing a hardhat while touring a site. It’s budgeting and effectively incentivizing. It’s truly valuing safety.

When leaders make it clear that safety matters immensely—and they back it up with action and budget funding—the cost-saving, life-saving benefits of investments in safety are fully realized.

Takeaway

Get on the right track of developing a safety-oriented culture where everyone stands to gain. For more information on how to increase the safety of your business, visit our website or contact us directly. 

Topics: safety management, safety awareness, workplace safety, safety audits, audit/inspection software

Streamlining Facility Management: A Case Study

Posted by Shawn Macpherson on Fri, Dec 21, 2018 @ 08:00 AM

fire extinguisher

As the vice president of facilities for Journey Health a large mental healthcare organization, John Pockey is responsible for 80 buildings. The Checker is helping keep them safe.

Many of Journey Health’s buildings are residential facilities housing people suffering from a variety of mental health issues. Pockey has a team of five inspectors, and one of these inspectors visits each facility once a month to conduct site audits, looking for any damage and upkeep needed. While there, they also check emergency equipment to make sure it’s working—a job that’s particularly challenging in Journey Health’s homes.

Fire extinguishers need to be checked monthly in any building, and a tag on each extinguisher is supposed to document each inspection. But some residents with behavior problems like to remove these tags, Pockey said, making it difficult to prove the inspections have occurred in order to comply  with regulations that require monthly inspections.

Also, to keep residents from panicking and helping them evacuate if needed after a loss of power, each residence has emergency lights in the hallways and stairways that will stay on with battery power for up to two hours. These lights also need to be checked monthly, and Pockey wanted a consistent process for inspecting them  and documenting those inspections.

That’s where The Checker Software comes in.

Journey Health is now using The Checker Software for its monthly inspections of the residences, as well as for the organization’s administrative facilities and outpatient clinics. The software, which is provided as software-as-a-service (SaaS), is well worth it’s minimal cost, Pockey said.

“It’s cut out a lot of steps in our process,” he said. “It saves a lot of time.”

The software can be used on any device connected to the internet, and Pockey said his inspectors use it on their smartphones. That capability was a selling point, he said.

“Everybody has a smartphone, so there was no extra equipment cost,” he said.

One feature of the software that Pockey greatly appreciates is its barcode reader. Barcodes can be put on each fire extinguisher and emergency light. By taking a picture of each barcode, the software immediately knows which specific piece of equipment is being inspected.

“I’ve looked for years for barcode software, and the price was just too high,” he said. “But The Checker wasn’t.”

Pockey also likes that work orders can be automatically generated and sent to maintenance when a deficiency is found. And he appreciates that all inspections and corrective actions are automatically archived and aggregated.

“Down the road, as we get into this, it’s going to provide us with a lot of data analytics,” he said.

Journey Health signed up for the software early in 2018, and The Checker provided training sessions until all of Journey Health’s users knew how to get the most out of it. Inspection forms also needed to be built.

“The form-building software is really easy to use, but with 80 buildings, we had to make 80 forms,” Pockey said.

During the process of learning the software and building the forms, The Checker always provided  prompt assistance, Pockey said.

“Their technical support staff is great at troubleshooting problems and fixing whatever needs to be fixed,” he said. ‘They are top-notch.”

The Checker Software is well liked within the organization, he said. Inspectors find that it makes their job easier, and the organization’s leaders like it because they can see reports as soon as they’re finished.

“I highly recommend The Checker Software,” Pockey said. “It’s been extremely valuable to our organization.”

Sharing the Cost of Service

Journey Health System is a nonprofit organization in Pennsylvania that acts as an umbrella organization for its member affiliates, all of which are nonprofits focused on mental health. Journey Health provides these organizations with management, administrative, advocacy, and facility support.

Journey Health’s board of directors is made up of representatives from each of its affiliates, which maintain their independence but benefit from the synergies of working together. Journey Health’s mission is to help these affiliates share costs and be able to focus on their core services.

The support Journey Health provides includes fiscal, human resources, compliance, information technology, clinical best-practice consultation, risk management, and bulk purchasing.

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