As the name suggests, field inspections are conducted in the field or area of operations. They assess the overall conditions of the facilities, equipment, and assets to ensure they maintain compliance with industry regulations and policies.
THe POWER OF Field Inspections
Conducting an inspection in the field offers advantages that cannot be taken lightly. With the right tools they allow the inspector and a supervisor to communicate and manage the impact of any found deficiencies. For instance using inspection software like The Checker enables inspectors to take advantage of:
Photo & Video: the ability to take a video of an asset or deficiency in context is powerful. A supervisor may not fully understand the size of a leak or a maintenance manager may not understand what has failed until they can see it.
Closing the Loop: just because an inspector discovers a problem, there is no guarantee it gets solved. Using software in the field allows for future inspections to determine if the fix has been made and to close the loop.
Team Work: issues discovered in the course of conducting field inspections may need to involve multiple parties. Field inspection software makes it easy for an inspector to alert a supervisor, a maintenance manager and another team member in close to real time.
Best Practices for Conducting Field Inspections
Using a Checklist: Checklists help ensure that field inspections are being conducted thoroughly. When the checklists are detailed and made for the specific asset, field inspectors are less likely to miss anything as they follow an established list of items that require assessment.
Following the Established Procedures: Every field inspection requires specific and detailed procedures and processes that are vital to the overall success and safety of the work environment.
Collecting Accurate Data: The accuracy of the data and information collected during a field inspection is necessary for the overall quality and proper assessment of the asset, allowing decisions to be made about upgrades, repairs, maintenance, and other decisions that ensure the continuity of operations.
Using appropriate equipment: It’s important to use the appropriate equipment for the inspection as it isn’t only essential to collecting accurate information, but also to the overall safety of the inspectors.
Documenting the Results: By recording the results of field inspection, you have documentation of insightful observations – which can help guide future action or recommendations for preventive maintenance.
Following Up on Recommendations: Recommendations that come as a result of a field inspection observation or discovery should not be left ignored. They should be immediately assessed and addressed.
Understanding Field Inspection Software: Field inspection software, tools, and programs such as digital checklists can help streamline processes and increase the accuracy of inspections. The best and most effective field Inspection tools include features like:
- Custom inspection templates that can be tailored to meet the specific needs of an organization.
- Data collection and analytics.
- Reporting based on inspection findings and collected data.
- Mobile-friendliness for use on mobile devices like smartphones and tablets.
- Collaboration tools to share inspection results, assign tasks, and keep team members connected.
Often field inspections are conducted by professionals within their field of expertise, such as engineers, environmental scientists, building inspectors, or safety professionals. They are most often in charge of inspecting assets within the field, such as equipment, structures, buildings, bridges, roads, etc.