The Checker Blog

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).


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

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.


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

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.


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

5 Inspection Books You Didn't Know Existed

Posted by Shawn Macpherson on Mon, Nov 19, 2018 @ 10:24 AM


5 inspection books you didn't know

Inspection books are in high demand. Accurate and regular inspection of your equipment is critical in keeping your workplace safe, maintain compliance, and improve productivity. Most employees would agree that preventing these accidents should be a natural priority for any business. Safety irregularities are never intentional, but they do come about when companies try to cut corners and don't take the time to adequately train their staff on the importance of safety and safety protocols. 

And it's important to remember that, in the event of an accident, it's not only the employee who has to suffer and pay. According to the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OHSA), "employers pay almost $1 billion per week for direct workers' compensation costs alone." Likewise, it's important to remember that the gap in coverage of an underinsured employer is still the responsibility of the employer and they will have to continue paying employees who miss work as a result of a workplace injury. 

It should also go without saying that proper inspections, or a lack thereof, can affect your business in other ways. For starters, fewer workplace accidents mean higher or steady productivity, whereas a single mishap can result in a steep drop in company-wide morale. Then there's the negative public perception in the event of one such accident, not to mention the legal liabilities that will follow.  


The New York Limo Crash

In early October 2018, a stretch limo carrying 17 people in upstate New York resulted in a deadly crash with all the passengers, driver, and two pedestrians killed. With a total death toll of 20, this incident is the deadliest US transportation accident since 2009 and made headlines around the nation. 

On closer examination of the crash site, it revealed that the driver never hit the brakes, plowing straight through a T-intersection. Also, the driver didn't have the appropriate license to drive that particular vehicle, while the limo failed an inspection only the month prior. 

The 5 Inspection Books

And while the investigation of the accident is still ongoing, with the authorities looking into all the activities and regulations of the limo-renting business, the takeaway could not be more apparent - proper and regular safety inspections are mandatory. To ensure that these inspections are done correctly, you will need the right inspection books. Below are five such inspection books that you may not know existed. 

Passenger Transportation Vehicles - It is for all applications, operations, and industries such as public transit, school, hospital, tourism, airport shuttle, limos, carriers, rentals, and all other enterprises that involve passenger transport.  

Railcar MoverThis inspection book applies to all mobile railcar movers, regardless of industry (construction, mining, forestry, industrial, warehousing, etc.) It also applies to all models, makes, manufacturers, sizes, etc.

Battery Charging Areas - Applies to the inspection and use of a battery and equipment such as charging, inspection, changing, maintenance, filling cells, production, models, sizes, voltage, etc. 

Wood Chippers - Available for inspection, operation, and use of all brush and wood chipper equipment in all industrial applications, regardless of make, manufacturer, size, brands, etc. 

Chainsaw - Applies to all chainsaw equipment in all industry applications such as firefighters, emergency responders, construction, forestry, landscaping, grounds keeping, etc. It also covers all areas such as the chain, saw bar, engine, controls, startup, PPE, and it applies to all brands, models, sizes, and fuel types.  

The Checker has been providing its Checklist Books since 2000, contributing to more over 20 million successful inspections. If you're interested in your company following the latest safety standards in your field and industry, or if you want to ask us for more details regarding our services, be sure to visit our official website, right here.

Topics: why inspect?, safety management, inspection checklists, workplace safety, inspections and profitability, inspection forms

Is Your Company Ready for Audit/Inspection Software? Download Our Checklist of Considerations

Posted by Shawn Macpherson on Tue, Nov 21, 2017 @ 12:44 PM


In The Checker blog, we consistently advocate the use of software designed to maximize the value of audits and inspections.  

But as much as we believe in the value of audit/inspection software, we realize that not all companies are ready for it.  In some companies, certain issues need to be addressed before moving to a software solution.  

To help you determine if you have any of these issues, we’re offering a free download of a Checklist of questions you can ask to determine your company’s software readiness. 

When Companies Aren’t Quite Ready 

Adopting audit/inspection software includes some technical and logistical issues and you shouldn’t overlook those (and our Checklist doesn’t). But as the nature of many of The Checklist questions reveals, having buy-in from personnel and management is an overriding prerequisite for success. 

If a significant number of the personnel who are going to be using the software are the type of people who would say of themselves, “I’m not a computer person,” then smooth adoption of the software will be difficult. Even a single key company leader can make adoption a challenge if that leader doesn’t appreciate the power of the software and the business logic for using it. 

In general, companies should evaluate their digital savviness. If the people affected by a switch to software are going to grumble and resist the move—or if they simply aren’t comfortable enough with the technology to use if effectively—then it may be premature to make a quick switch to software.  

It’s not that software requires IT staff or users who are computer whizzes—the cloud-based <Checker Software> is so simple to set up and easy to use that no special technical knowledge is necessary. However, personnel without a basic comfort and familiarity with using software are more likely to resist the change and lack the mindset necessary to make use of the software’s full capabilities. 

And the leaders who control the purses strings—including key decision-makers who might never directly use the software themselves—need to understand what those full capabilities are.  

Even if leaders who want the software are able to get it budgeted, division among leadership can undermine the software’s adoption. Without an understanding of what the software can provide (much more than just allowing for inspections on mobile devices), the software’s value is likely to be underappreciated by some key decision-makers, potentially leading to their impatience with the adoption process and even denial of continued funding. 

Fortunately, no challenge related to personnel and management buy-in—or any other factor that could hinder audit/inspection software adoption—is too great to overcome. But first you must identify the specific challenges for YOUR organization. That’s what our Checklist of considerations is for. 

Download it now!


Moving from paper-based processes to audit/inspection software can greatly benefit any organization—reducing costs by improving communication of results, accuracy, maintenance efficiency, planning, compliance management, and much more.  

However, before moving to software, it’s wise to evaluate your company’s readiness to make the most of it. Our Checklist will help you determine how prepared you are to begin using software, as well to identify areas on which to focus to increase readiness. 

Topics: inspection checklists, inspection basics, inspection best practices, The Checker history, audit software

A Book For Every Thing

Posted by Shawn Macpherson on Wed, Nov 01, 2017 @ 08:00 AM


One day while visiting a customer, we asked if The Checker inspection checklist books were helping them with their inspections. They didn’t know what we were talking about.

We explained that they’ve been ordering our checklist books for crane inspections for some time.

“Oh, the crane books,” our host said. “Sure, we love those. They work great.”

That conversation caused us to wonder: How many of our customers are using our books to inspect only their cranes, forklifts, trucks, etc. and don’t know they could use our books to inspect any asset in their organization?

We understand why customers might not realize how many ways our inspection checklists can be used. After all, one of the strengths of The Checker compared to other checklist-book providers is that each of our books contains a checklist that’s specific to what’s being inspected. Even though each book has the same easy-to-use format, the detail in each checklist is different based on the equipment, vehicle, or other asset being inspected.

So, I can see why our customer came to think of The Checker as “crane books” only—we clearly made our crane checklists for the sole purpose of inspecting cranes.

I just want to make sure that our current and future customers realize that our books’ specificity doesn’t mean that we’re limited. We have more than a hundred books, each designed for a specific type of inspection, and we can create customized books if necessary.

Is there anything in your organization that you’re inspecting without using The Checker? If you like the preciseness and efficiencies of The Checker for what you’re already using it for, why not take advantage of The Checker for everything you inspect?

Even if you only need one type of inspection book in your role, there may be other areas of your organization—different departments, divisions, locations, etc.—that could benefit. You might also have strategic partners who would appreciate learning about how The Checker can help them.

We don’t mind being called the “crane book” because we believe we’re the best provider of crane inspection checklists. We just want you to know that we can help with inspections other than cranes, or any other single asset—not because our checklists are generic but because we took the time to develop multiple checklists that are each specific to exactly what needs inspecting.

Download our list of checklists to see what we mean.


The Checker inspection checklist books can be used for all the inspections your organization does because you can choose a book that’s designed specifically for each type of asset you inspect.


Topics: inspection checklists, inspection basics, inspection best practices, equipment maintenance

Roadside Inspections? No Problem

Posted by Shawn Macpherson on Wed, Oct 25, 2017 @ 09:56 AM

roadside inspection.jpg 

The results are in, and not surprisingly the top three violations during the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s 2017 Roadcheck Inspection Blitz were for brake systems, cargo securement, and tires/wheels.

The annual blitz was held June 6-8 in the United States and Canada. CVSA certified inspectors conducted more than 62,000 Level I, II, and III commercial vehicle and driver safety inspections during this year’s crackdown, with the majority being the 37-step Level I inspections. Vehicles and drivers were inspected at inspection sites, weigh stations, and roving patrol locations.

Overall, 19.4% of vehicles and 4.7% of drivers were placed out of service following the inspections, according to CVSA. Among the more than 40,000 Level I inspections, 23% of vehicles and 4.2 % of drivers were placed out of service.

This annual blitz could be a cause for fear. But not if you’re using The Checker inspection checklist books.

These detailed checklist books include all the items than need to be in working order if a driver is stopped for an inspection—during a CVSA blitz or any other time of the year during a regular CVOR (Commercial Vehicle Operator’s Registration) check or any other inspection by a regulatory agency.

“The books are great,” says Tom Hester of Shady Lane Expert Tree Care Inc. in Ontario. “The guys love them. And since we’ve been using them, we’ve had several CVOR and MTO (Ontario Ministry of Transportation) roadside inspections with no issues.”

With a duplicate copy of each checklist form in each book, drivers can inspect their vehicles, turn a copy into the office, and keep one on hand in the vehicle, ready to prove to any roadside inspector that vehicle inspections are done regularly and thoroughly. Most importantly, use of the checklists ensures that vehicles won’t be on the road if they’re not roadworthy because of some defect.

Shady Lane isn’t worried about roadside inspections, and you don’t have to be either with The Checker.


Whether it’s brakes, tires, wheels, cargo securement, or any other common problem, The Checker inspection checklist books will ensure that your drivers know about the problem before enforcement officers do or lives are endangered.

View our extensive library of inspections for vehicles and other commercial assets here.


Topics: inspection checklists, inspection software, inspection best practices, audit/inspection software

The Role of Inspections in Recovering from Irma, Harvey and Maria

Posted by Shawn Macpherson on Mon, Sep 25, 2017 @ 02:00 PM

key-west-81665_1280.jpgIt’s been a terrible, tragic hurricane season for the United States and the Caribbean.

With Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria devastating the Caribbean, Texas, Florida, and surrounding areas, those regions are in a rebuilding mode, trying to recover from the wreckage.

In addition to the many, many homes that must be rebuilt or repaired, municipalities are faced with repair and replacement projects to restore vital infrastructure, and businesses are dealing with damage to their facilities and equipment.

With all this construction taking place, a lot of inspections will be going on, as well. That’s why we feel this is a fitting time to point out the importance of inspection checklists in performing inspections that are thorough and accurate.

Particularly with the volume of inspections that will be occurring, effective inspection checklists are needed to ensure inspections identify all defects—whether you’re using them to evaluate damage or to repair it. In the rush to return to normalcy, it may be tempting to take shortcuts, and inspection checklists counter that tendency by providing consistent, specific guidance on how to conduct the many inspections you’ll be doing.

Inspection checklists also make it easier to manage the large volume of inspections, particularly if the checklists are part of software designed for inspection management.

As the producer of The Checker Inspection Checklist Books and The Checker Software, we of course recommend those solutions to meet the sudden need created by the huge storms. We have hundreds of easy-to-use checklist books, each tailored to a specific type of asset or equipment, with all the detail necessary to determine anything that’s wrong. And with The Checker Software, management and coordination of the multitude of inspections is made easy and less costly.

Whatever solution you use, however, the key is to not rush through inspections, despite the urgency to rebuild. Nothing should fall through the cracks, and to prevent that, you need well-designed checklists that are simple enough to use that they do get used. And you also need a coordinated approach to conducting the inspections.


With all the misery and suffering created by the hurricanes, the last thing anyone needs is for insufficient inspecting to lead to more problems—and more cost. As the affected regions are rebuilt, inspections conducted with inspection checklists are essential to make sure the rebuilding is done right.


Topics: inspection checklists, facility audits, audit/inspection software

Using Software to Mature Your Inspecting Processes

Posted by Shawn Macpherson on Thu, Sep 14, 2017 @ 07:00 AM

Software is used in virtually every industry to increase efficiency and reduce costs. But many companies are not fully applying the benefits of software to one of their most vital business functions—inspections and audits.

Image result for maturitySome are still using entirely paper-based processes.  In some situations, such as remote job sites without connectivity, paper is logistically necessary for conducting inspections and audits. However, all companies can benefit from having results entered into audit/inspection software. And most companies can benefit from having their inspectors directly enter results into the software.

Others are using software for some aspects of their inspecting processes, but the software is either nothing more than an e-form unconnected to any other software, or it is just one of many modules in an enterprise software suite. Neither of those types of software are mature solutions because the software isn’t designed to extract all the value from inspections and audits.

What’s needed to maximize efficiencies, reduce costs, and gain the full value from inspections and audits? Software designed specifically to improve inspections and audits.

What Software Can Do for You

If you’re using software—or contemplating software—in an effort to mature your inspecting processes, the software you use should:

  • Be able to immediately communicate all inspection/audit results to the necessary, designated people (including maintenance), via notifications, alerts, emails, and PDF attachments
  • Have the flexibility to meet the needs of your specific industry and business, with the ability to configure dashboards and create your own audits and checklists
  • Provide an extensive selection of detailed, pre-built audits and inspection checklists
  • Automatically generate action steps based on results, according to priorities and responsibilities you set up
  • Provide automatic reports based on criteria you select, allowing you to gain valuable insight into causes, trends, and process inefficiencies
  • Include scoring capabilities to allow inspectors to rate the severity of issues rather than only pass or fail.
  • Have intuitive interfaces uncluttered by information unrelated to inspections and audits.

In general, the software should be easy-to-use; easily configurable to meet your specific processes; and focused solely on audits and inspections (with simple integration with other business systems). This focus will bring the best results.

You will see reductions in a range of costs, including labor, maintenance, and safety. And you’ll gain a valuable management tool expressly designed for those responsible for inspecting and auditing processes.


Inspection and audit processes are critical to any business. Beyond compliance, they offer opportunities to identify and correct problems sooner, leading to better business outcomes. Such a valuable function deserves software designed specifically to improve inspecting processes, with features that help a company in all aspects of inspecting and auditing: execution, follow-up, recording, reporting, and continuous improvement.

We designed The Checker Software specifically to be the easy-to-use, flexible, and focused audit/inspection software that companies need to continue to mature their inspecting and auditing processes. To learn about how The Checker Software can help your organization gain more value from audits and inspections, click here.

Topics: inspection checklists, inspection software, inspection best practices, audit/inspection software

Six Best Practices for Auditing and Inspecting

Posted by Shawn Macpherson on Thu, Mar 24, 2016 @ 02:00 PM

Regardless of your organization’s size or the industry you’re in, you can maximize the value of your audits and inspections by following these best practices.

  1. Establish firm audit/inspection policies and procedures in writing. Personnel should have no question about what needs to be inspected, how frequently inspections should be conducted, or how those inspections should be conducted. Verbal guidance is great (and necessary), but written guidelines provide consistency, clarity, and accountability. Developing written policies and procedures also forces an organization to examine its audit/inspection processes, asking important questions such as “Are we inspecting everything we need to?” and “When we inspect, are we doing a thorough-enough inspection to achieve our goals?”
  1. Adequately train all personnel. Once you’ve developed written policies and procedures, personnel have to learn them. This requires more than simply handing out a printout or posting Effective audit and inspection programs require robust training.the guidelines on a bulletin board. To make sure your policies and procedures are well-understood and always top of mind, you need a robust training program that ingrains them in the minds of personnel before they begin doing a job that requires auditing or inspecting.
  1. Use checklists to ensure audits and inspections are done correctly. Even with excellent training, personnel need a checklist of all items to check for whatever is being inspected, whether it be equipment, facilities, worksites, or processes. Properly structured checklists, such as The Checker, list items in the logical order they will be inspected, allowing personnel to simply go through the checklist without having to remember each item. Checklists also hold personnel and organizations accountable by documenting what they’ve inspected—documentation that also can be used to demonstrate regulatory compliance.
  1. Constantly reinforce the policies and procedures. Initial training isn’t enough. People have a tendency to forget, become complacent, or begin taking “shortcuts.” This tendency is particularly strong in organizations that don’t make it clear, on an ongoing basis, how important it is to do audits and inspections as prescribed by your policies and procedures. You can provide this reinforcement of the initial training with periodic retraining. It’s also vital to provide meaningful rewards for personnel who follow the policies and procedures, as well as to enforce negative consequences when the guidelines aren’t followed.
  1. “Audit the auditors.” In organizations that have best-of-class audit/inspection programs, there are checks at all organizational levels to ensure that policies and procedures are being followed. A way to think of this is that the audit/inspection program itself needs to be inspected on a continual basis. Everyone, at all levels, should be answerable to someone else.
  1. Proactively use audit/inspection results to make better business decisions. Audits and inspections should be about more than compliance to internal standards and external regulations. To truly maximize the value of audits and inspections, you can’t waste the valuable data generated by the results. This data can be used in numerous ways, such as helping to develop preventive maintenance schedules, predicting downtime, and guiding procurement decisions. Inspection software (e.g., The Checker Software) can be used to help aggregate and make sense of this data.



You can improve the efficiency and effectiveness of your audits and inspections by developing firm policies and procedures, training and retraining personnel, using checklists, holding everyone accountable, and using results to make better business decisions.

Topics: inspection checklists, inspection basics, inspection best practices, safety audits